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City's unemployment rate rises to 6.4 per cent

The city's unemployment rate stood at 6.4 per cent in November, according to Statistics Canada labour market survey estimates issued Friday. The figure is up from both the 5.2 per cent recorded for the same month last year and the 5.
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The city's unemployment rate stood at 6.4 per cent in November, according to Statistics Canada labour market survey estimates issued Friday.

The figure is up from both the 5.2 per cent recorded for the same month last year and the 5.9 per cent recorded in October.

Even with the sampling errors taken into account, College of New Caledonia economics instructor Al Idiens said the year-over-year difference is "definitely higher." And despite Statistic Canada's strong suggestion that only year-over-year figures be considered, he noted an upward trend month-over-month since this past summer. The figure bottomed out at 4.2 per cent in June and has been rising ever since.

Idiens also noted that more people are seeking work. As of November, the count was 3,300, compared to 3,100 during the month before and 2,500 a year ago. He attributed the increase to non-seasonal layoffs at area sawmills, in answer to the downturn in demand for lumber combined with the tariffs.

"If I was a mill worker, I'd be thinking it'll be longer so while I'm unemployed, I might as well go around looking for other jobs and not just wait for the EI to run out," Idiens said.

At 48,000, roughly 1,100 fewer people are holding down jobs compared to October, although the figure is still 1,900 higher than that for the same time last year.

The numbers are based on a three-month rolling average and do not separate part-time from full-time work.