Yukon hits national record-low annual unemployment rate

Yukon has hit an all-time low annual unemployment rate, not only in the territory, but in Canada.

Despite the record-low, 'the employment situation was really close to what it was in 2017'

Gary Brown says Whistle Bend Place was one of the larger construction projects that provided many jobs in the territory. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

Yukon has hit an all-time low annual unemployment rate, not only in the territory, but in Canada.

Gary Brown, senior information officer with the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, said the territory's 2018 annual unemployment rate was 2.7 per cent — a "record low of any jurisdiction in Canada since the Labour Force Survey began, and for the provinces that was in the 70s."

To compare, Canada's unemployment rate in December 2018 was 5.6 per cent, that number in Yukon was 4.0 per cent.

In December 2018, there were 900 unemployed people in Yukon; in 2017 that number was 800. The bureau also reported that 21,300 people were employed in December 2018, and 21,100 in December 2017. 

In 2013, 20,375 were employed in the territory. 

These numbers have been "seasonally adjusted," which means things like climate, holidays, vacation periods and cycles related to crops and retail sales associated with Christmas and Easter have been eliminated.

In April, June and July of 2018, Yukon's unemployment rate dipped as low as 2.3 per cent. The highest rates of unemployment were in October and November, at 4.1 per cent.

"We've had a pretty good run up here," said Brown, adding a big part of the low rate of unemployment over the last year was because of the construction and mining sectors. "Construction was holding strong… at around 2,000 employees."

He said a lot of that is due to residential construction and a few big projects like the Whistle Bend continuing care facility and the Victoria Gold Mine.

Help still wanted

Brown said between 2017 and 2018 there were some big job losses related to trade and accommodation food services. "We did a survey this summer and we found that businesses had a lot of current vacancies," said Brown.

"They're really having trouble staffing those positions."

In November, the owner of Whitehorse's Independent Mark Wykes, said he's been struggling to find employees. The general manager of a store in Carmacks also said he's struggled to find new hires. 

Brown said many of the vacant jobs seem to be entry-level positions. He said it's a good sign unless you're an employer in the territory because it's difficult to get employees.

Although the unemployment rate was a record low, "the employment situation was really close to what it was in 2017."

With files from Meagan Deuling

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