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BC jobs minister says drop in unemployment rate tied to Asian economies

VANCOUVER - B.C.'s Jobs Minister Pat Bell says Asia was largely responsible for an increase of 3,600 jobs in the province last month.

New figures from Statistics Canada suggest B.C.'s unemployment rate slid to 6.6 per cent from 7.4 per cent in May.

While the U.S. remains the province's largest trading partner, the combined economies of China, India, Japan and South Korea have now overtaken its southern neighbour.

Bell says trade with Asia flows both ways, with investment dollars coming east across the Pacific and manufactured goods from the forest, mining and energy sectors heading west.

But he says B.C. is facing competition for Asian cash from Australia.

Bell says youth looking for work during the summer months should focus on the hospitality and tourism sectors where he got his start.

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