Unemployment rate back into single digits

Unemployment rate decreases in Nanaimo but demand for services by job seekers remains steady.

Christopher White

Christopher White

Unemployment rates in Nanaimo have dropped to single digits, but demand by job seekers remains steady at city employment agencies.

The city’s unemployment rate fell to 9.8 last month, a significant drop from 16 per cent in May.

Duncan’s unemployment rate now sits at 11.6 per cent, while Prince George is at 7.5 per cent and Kamloops was 6.1 per cent.

Employment in the province increased by 32,000 jobs – all in full-time work. The provincial unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent in September.

Despite the drop, organizations haven’t seen a decrease in demand for their services.

Steve Arnett, chief operating officer of Nanaimo Youth Services Association, said client numbers remained steady. The organization assists youth aged 15-30 find work and offers training programs, such as Bladerunners, to help them gain employment skills.

But there are good indicators things are improving. In the last few weeks, a number of help wanted signs have popped up in the windows of many retail and small businesses and employers are also starting to gear up for Christmas season hiring.

Arnett said the unemployment rate remains high for youth, especially those with less than a high school education.

Sandra Bistritz, director of Supporting Employment Transitions, said demand at SET has remained unchanged, but it’s decreased from two years ago when demand spiked.

“When the economic downturn happened, we were absolutely incredibly busy,” she said. “But compared to two years ago, we aren’t as busy and it’s been fairly stable numbers for the last six months.”

Bistritz said it’s taking time to find work, but people are finding jobs and hiring is taking place in all sectors. She said it’s about networking, putting your best foot forward and having the tools for job searches ready.

SET provides several services including workshops, one-on-one job coaching and access to the office for job searches. Some eligibility requirements are needed for programs funded through the B.C. Labour Market Agreement.

The organization hosted the SET Hiring Fair Thursday afternoon at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, with 42 booths, which included employers, training institutes and recruiters.

Christopher White was among job seekers at the hiring fair. He’s been unemployed for several weeks and was hopeful the one-on-one interaction would make him stand out to employers.

He said the government needs to do more to help job seekers in the province.

“Christy Clark needs to step up in her position and know about the job situation in B.C. and she needs to develop more alleyways and roads to help people in my position or my situation to get the work they want and have a full-time job with a good benefit package,” said White.

Andrew Tysdal, from Ladysmith, has been unemployed for a year.

He worked as a pressman for 10 years and after he got laid off, decided to retrain and find a new career path. He’s taking a number of short certificate classes to gain skills employers might want.

“I have so many useful skills I can get into a lot of different fields,” said Tysdal.

Tysdal said one of the obstacles is trying to schedule daycare for his children to work with an employer’s schedule, especially on Saturdays. His wife works part-time and if he needs to work on the weekends, there isn’t anywhere his children can go for care.


Just Posted

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Most Read