What slump? Jobs up, unemployment down in Yukon

Gary Brown of the Yukon Bureau of Statistics says a number of big construction projects are keeping people working in Yukon.

Big construction projects keeping Yukoners working, says Bureau of Stats

Workers busy on the biggest territorial government project in Yukon history - the $140 million continuing care facility in Whistle Bend. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Yukon appears to be riding out an ongoing slump in the mining industry this winter with big construction projects keeping job numbers up.

According to Statistics Canada's labour force survey, there were 900 more jobs in the territory last month compared to February 2016. That represents a 4.3 per cent increase in the seasonally adjusted labour force.

Unemployment numbers also dropped over the same period. The territory's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was 4.1 per cent,  down from 6.2 per cent a year ago.

Gary Brown of the Yukon Bureau of Statistics credits government infrastructure projects, such as the new Whistle Bend continuing care facility and the expansion of the Whitehorse hospital.

Other major projects include the new Salvation Army shelter being built downtown, and a new Save-On-Foods grocery store.

"They have picked up the slack, on the goods-producing side, where mining has fallen off," he said.

Brown says retail sales, wholesale and real estate have also been stronger, while the territory's population continues to grow.

"Those kinds of goods-producing jobs — the construction jobs — there's a lot of spin-off into the service sector as well," he said.

Yukon's unemployment rate in February was also lower than the national average. Canada's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent, down 0.6 per cent from a year ago.

With files from Vic Istchenko

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