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Kootenay unemployment rate drops to 4.3%

The local jobless rate continues to drop.

Statistics Canada says unemployment in the Kootenays stood at 4.3 per cent in May, down from 6.5 per cent in the same month of 2021.

There were an estimated 81,900 people working and 3,700 looking for work, both declines over last year when 83,100 had jobs and 5,800 were job hunting. The population increased from 138,200 to 140,600.

The local rate was even below the national rate of 5.1 per cent, which was a record low.

The economy added 40,000 new jobs driven by high demand in the accommodation and food service industries.

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Women made up the lion’s share of newly employed but job opportunities for men also remained steady.

According to the stats, the availability of part-time jobs fell as did employment in the goods producing sector because of a decline in manufacturing.

The Kootenay rate was also lower than the provincial rate of 4.5 per cent, which was the lowest since July 2019. It was down from seven per cent in May 2021.

The provincial government says there are now nearly 100,000 more people working in B.C. than before the pandemic began.

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