The region’s jobless rate has hit double-digit territory and is the highest in B.C.
Based on Statistics Canada figures released earlier this month, the February jobless rate for the area from the coast to just this side of Vanderhoof is 12.2 per cent, a clear jump over the 9.8 per cent in December 2011 and the 8.8 per cent for February 2011.
Figures are not based on Employment Insurance claims. Instead, they are based on interviews of people over the age of 15 who consider themselves as part of the workforce whether they are working or not.
The region with the next highest rate is the Thompson-Okanagan with a rate of 8.6 per cent while the provincial rate is 7.1 per cent.
Compared to a year ago, only the northwest and the Cariboo experienced a jump in the jobless rate.
The jobless rate in the Cariboo was 7.8 per cent in February, fractionally higher than the 7.5 per cent for February 2011.
By the numbers provided by Statistics Canada, the region’s labour force grew to 46,800 in February 2012 compared to 45,300 in February 2011.
But employment dropped slightly, from 41,300 in February 2011 to 41,200 in February 2012.