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B.C. unemployment rate improves

At the close of 2012, job growth in B.C. remains strong and steady while the unemployment rate had dropped, according to the provincial government.

There was a gain of 600 new jobs last month while unemployment was at 6.5 per cent. In December, B.C. gained 4,300 full-time positions. Regionally, Vancouver Island and Coast gained 3,300 positions, the Kootenays 800 positions, the North Coast and Nechako region 400 positions and the Northeast 300 positions.

Of B.C.'s main metropolitan areas, Kelowna reported a gain of 600 jobs and Victoria gained 1,500. Statistics Canada does not have a breakdown for the Comox Valley.

The B.C. construction sector continues to experience steady growth, showing strong gains of 14,800 jobs last month. Other areas of job growth include educational services (12,000 jobs) and wholesale and retail trade (6,900 jobs).

B.C.'s average hourly wage rate in December was up by 2.2 per cent compared with December 2011. For youth under 25, the average hourly wage in December was up by 5.8 per cent over last year.

Since December 2011, B.C. has added 19,400 jobs as a result of a gain of 30,800 full-time positions combined with a loss of 11,400 part-time positions. B.C. ranks fourth among provinces behind Quebec (138,000 jobs), Ontario (100,300 jobs) and Alberta (31,800 jobs).

According to Statistics Canada, the Vancouver Island/coastal region saw employment gains of 12,000 over the year (3.5 per cent) while the unemployment rate declined to 5.8 per cent in December. It was 6.3 per cent in December, 2011.

Employment increases over the year were among full and part-time work, mainly in health care and social assistance, educational services and manufacturing. For details, visit www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-001-x/2012012/t021-eng.htm.

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