Province loses 15,900 jobs in January

The province lost almost 16,000 jobs in January according to Statistics Canada, returning employment numbers to similar levels from a year ago.

This followed the national trend, which saw employment decrease across the board by 22,000 jobs last month, following up on two months of solid gains along the upward trend that began in the middle of 2009.

Despite the overall national drop, the provincial government if focusing on positive growth in certain areas of BC like Vancouver Island and the Coastal region, along with the Lower Mainland/Southwest where a combined 21,800 new jobs have been created since last year.

“It is always difficult to see job losses in BC,” says Pat Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and skills training and minister responsible for labour.

“But we have a plan and we are sticking with that plan. We continue to see investment, and with that investment will come jobs.”

Figures released by the province indicate the average hourly wage in BC now stands at $24.28 and employment is up among youth aged 15-24 and men over 24 years old. The province has also seen growth in the professional, scientific and technical services fields.

“Last year, we recorded seven months where full-time employment increased in BC and there were improved labour market conditions across the province,” says Bell.

“I have no doubt that, despite continued economic volatility, BC will continue to attract investment and create jobs for British Columbians.”

This news from Stats Can did not sit well with BC Conservative leader John Cummins, who blasted the provincial government over job losses and ill-advised spending.

"No amount of taxpayer-funded television advertising can hide the fact that Christy Clark's 'Jobs Plan' has been – and is – a colossal failure," states Cummins.

"Over the last year, 15,500 British Columbians have been forced out of the province's labour force – either seeing their jobs disappear, or giving up hope of finding employment. It's as if the entire populations of Comox - or of Prince Rupert, or Dawson Creek - over the last 12 months had simply disappeared from the work force."

Last week Castanet ran a poll asking if the BC government should spend money on Super Bowl ads.  Over 1,000 people responded with a resounding 95 per cent voting NO to the question.

Cummins estimates the Liberals have spent $15 million to advertise the alleged success of their economic and fiscal policies in recent months, and have created just over 3,000 jobs since Clark unveiled her Jobs Plan in September 2011.

The provincial government also says BC is showing signs of new economic growth and job creation in the liquefied natural gas export industry and may even surpass their goal of having three LNG facilities in operation by 2020, as outlined in the BC Jobs Plan.

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