Kelowna’s unemployment rate decreased by a full percentage point to 9 per cent in August 2020. (File photo)

Central Okanagan unemployment rate drops despite decrease in workforce

Unemployment rate now sits at 9 per cent, well below provincial, national rates

For the second month in a row, the Central Okanagan’s unemployment rate decreased in August, despite fewer people actually working.

According to data published by Statistics Canada on Friday, Sept. 4, by June, the unemployment rate in the Kelowna census metropolitan area (CMA), which covers Lake Country through Peachland, skyrocketed to 10.2 per cent from January’s 4.2 per cent. In August, that number dropped a full percentage point to 9 per cent from July’s 10 per cent.

Unemployment numbers peaked in July, as around 11,000 people in the area were without a job. That number decreased by approximately 1,200 in August, leaving around 9,800 people unemployed.

However, due to a slight decrease in the labour force, there are fewer people employed in the region this month than last.

The labour force decreased by 1,400 to 108,800 people from July’s 110,200. But, the Central Okanagan only suffered a net loss of around 300 workers, as the number of employed people decreased to 98,900 in August from 99,200 in July.

The drop in available workers likely isn’t attributable to people moving away, as the region experienced a population growth of around 400 people in August. Instead, it’s likely those people removed themselves from the workforce by ceasing their job search.

The Kelowna CMA is one of only three across the country that saw a decrease in the labour force, alongside Guelph, Ont., and Moncton, N.B.

Despite this, the Kelowna CMA was the only one Statistics Canada recorded across the country as having a dip in employment.

Statistics Canada plots B.C.’s unemployment rate at 10.7 per cent. Provincial officials said B.C. has recovered 246,900 jobs and total employment now stands at 94 per cent of the pre-pandemic level in February. Around 15,300 of those jobs were created within the last month — 87 per cent of which were full-time jobs.

Nationwide, the economy added 246,000 in August as the pace of job gains slowed compared with July, when 419,000 jobs were added. The unemployment rate fell to 10.2 per cent in August compared with 10.9 per cent in July.

READ MORE: Trudeau says program extension delayed some CERB payments

READ MORE: Canada’s economic optimism crippled by pandemic, Pew poll suggests

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
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