For the second month in a row, Prince George has set a jobs record.
According to data announced Friday by local MLA Pat Bell, the province's Minister of Jobs, Tourism, Skills Training and Labour, the number of people employed in Prince George has never been higher in its history, despite the fact the population has at times been bigger.
"In Prince George it was another very good month," Bell said. "In July we set the record of 50,600 and we gained another 1,200 since then so again a new high. The typical levels Prince George was used to over the years was in the 44,000 or 45,000 range."
Provincewide, B.C. passed Alberta to take the No. 1 position in Canada for job growth. Bell said in the past 12 months B.C. has a total of 51,700 net new jobs while Alberta in second place created 43,300 new jobs and in distant third is Quebec at 24,500.
Bell said British Columbians need to look north to see those new jobs.
"Where that job growth took place was in forestry and mining - we gained 10,500 new jobs in those sectors. That is up 28 per cent, year over year," he said. "In the last month, the transportation sector gained 12,500 - trucking, the ports - and that is a direct result of our efforts in the resource sectors, so there is a whole combination of growing industries working with each other there, and a lot of that is in northern and rural B.C. in particular."
Bell said the government's jobs plan, of which he was a leading contributor, is deliberately focused on regional economies rather than the V2 (Vancouver/Victoria) cluster.
"It is very encouraging for us that the regional economies are responding, we are seeing the biggest job growth there," he said. "If you have strong regional economies then it is just natural course that the urban economy is going to be healthy, but the reverse is not necessarily true. If Vancouver and Victoria are having success, that does not always mean the small towns and regional cities are sharing in that."
Another area of success in the latest job numbers, Bell said, was youth employment. B.C. was again leading the nation in that category, with an unemployment rate of 11.7 per cent down from 16 per cent in August 2011. The average youth wage increased this past year as well, ticking up 6.6 per cent to stand at $13.87 per hour, the third highest in Canada.
The overall unemployment rate in B.C. this past month is 6.7 per cent, fourth best in Canada.