Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.3 per cent in November, the lowest in Canada. (News files)

Victoria’s low unemployment rate raises concerns

The Capital Region had the lowest jobless rate in the country for November

Victoria’s unemployment rate for the month of November was the lowest in the country at 3.3 per cent, but the news may not be as good as it seems.

A low jobless rate is generally a good indicator of a healthy economy, said Dallas Gislason, economic development officer with the South Island Prosperity Project. However, when unemployment drops below four per cent, it could be the result of workers leaving the city, which leaves employers having a hard time attracting talent, he said.

“From a pure economic perspective, it is healthy,” he said. “At the same time, we need to look at it holistically … and one of the areas we need to really, really watch closely is the [housing] affordability pressures.”

Gislason pointed to San Francisco as an example. That city has among the highest incomes in North America, but the high cost of housing is forcing some people to move away.

Despite the low jobless numbers, the region lost around 2,000 people from the labour force in November. Employers in some sectors may find they have to raise wages to attract workers, given the cost of renting or buying a home in the region, Gislason added.

RELATED: Labour market ‘unstoppable’ as jobless rate drops to 5.9%

Canada’s overall unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent in November, the lowest in nearly a decade, according to data released today by Statistics Canada.

The unemployment rate for Vancouver Island and the Coast dropped to 4.4 per cent from 4.9 per cent last month. Across the province, 18,000 more people were employed in November, up 3.8 per cent in year-over-year gains, mostly in full-time work.

Canada gained 29,600 full-time and 49,900 part-time jobs in November across the country. Job growth was primarily in the private sector with an additional 72,400 jobs created, while the public sector had 10,600 new jobs.

– With files from the Canadian Press

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

RELATED: Victoria’s unemployment rate lowest in Canada

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