Good news on the jobs front in Prince George.
Unemployment in the region was 6 per cent in January, Statistics Canada said on Friday, down from 6.2 per cent the month before.
Consider that in October 2008, 73.3 per cent of the population was in the workforce locally compared to just 67.1 per cent in January 2019 - something economists call the participation rate.
(StatsCan warns with unadjusted data, one can not make month-to-month comparisons since different seasonal factors influence each month).
British Columbia, meanwhile, sits at 4.7 per cent for last month which is a small increase from the 4.4 percentage in December, while nationally, the unemployment rate increased to 5.8 per cent, up from 5.6 in December.
Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in January for permanent employees was 1.8 per cent, which was up from December's reading of 1.5 per cent, but still well below its May peak of 3.9 per cent. Employment in the Calgary region rose by 2,900 month over month and by 6,900 year over year.
"I think it does underscore that for all the doom and gloom in the market, the Canadian economy is not in a awful place in quite a few sectors", said Andrew Kelvin, senior rates strategists at TD Securities. In fact, 2018 was B.C.'s highest annual wage growth in the past 10 years.
She said the struggles of energy-producing provinces, which began with the late-2014 oil slump, have been a big factor that has dragged down national wage-growth numbers.
Statistics Canada's monthly Labour Force Survey provides estimates of employment and unemployment, based on a sampling of households in communities. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action. The trend of more people entering the workforce and either working or looking for a job also continued, with the labour force increasing from 22,500 to 23,700.
"Volatility returned with a notable increase in employment during the month of January", he wrote.