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A Diverse, Growing Workforce

Opportunities abound in Northeast British Columbia with core industries of employment being construction, retail trade, other private services, food services & drinking places, truck transportation and oil and gas extraction and its supporting services.

For many years, the economies of the northeast have been diversifying from what was for many years, primarily resource and agriculture-based economies. Communities in the northeast have now matured to where the top five primary industries by employment represent less than half of the overall jobs in the region.

Because Dawson Creek is centrally located and is serviced by many highways, workers who live in Dawson Creek are able to commute to jobs in other municipalities such as Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd, Taylor and Fort St John. Many rural residents also commute daily into Dawson Creek for work.

Labour Market Outlook

Every year, the British Columbia government updates their 10-year labour market projections by region and publishes B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook through WorkBC. Dawson Creek is found in the Northeast region of the province which includes Fort St. John, Chetywnd, Tumbler Ridge and Fort Nelson.

Construction, oil & gas and trucking lead the way

The latest predictions in B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook (2021-2031) anticipate that the Northeast will see a 10-year employment growth rate of 1.0%. Construction, oil and gas extraction and truck transportation are expected to lead as industries with the most job openings over the coming decade.

Highest Labour Force Participation, Lowest Unemployment

The BC Labour Market Outlook 2021 Edition points out that ” The Northeast had the highest participation rate in 2020 at 74.1 per cent, 10.5 percentage points higher than the provincial average (63.6 in 2020). It had an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent, the lowest in the province, in 2020. The average B.C. unemployment rate was 8.9 per cent in 2020.”

And with regard to 2021, the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s State of the North report cites Statistics Canada numbers showing northeast BC was the region with the lowest unemployment rate  in BC, at 4.6%.

Industries with the Most Job Openings: 2021-2031 (Northeast)

Industry

Employment (2021) 

Employment Growth Rate
(Avg. Annual  %)

Expansion

Replacement

Job Openings

Construction

3,580

1.8%

740

770

1,510

Oil and gas extraction

2,200

1.8%

450

620

1,070

Truck transportation

1,900

2.1%

450

450

930

Other retail trade (excluding cars and personal care)

3,710

0.6%

220

510

730

Repair, personal and
non-profit services

2,000

1.6%

350

270

620

Business and building support services (excluding travel)

930

3.1%

340

190

540

Wholesale trade

1,400

1.4%

220

300

520

Social assistance

1,430

0.9%

140

340

480

Real estate and rental and leasing

890

2.4%

240

190

430

Farms and support activities

1,020

0.8%

80

320

400

Average / Median Income

  Individuals
(population aged 15 years and over)
Households

Tax Year Average ($) Median ($) Average ($) Median ($)
2005 34,633 26,856 62,253 50,848
2010 40,735 33,490 73,312 58,416
2015 50,079 40,242 90,925 79,061

Source: Statistics Canada