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EDITORIAL: Labour shortage is a long-term problem

Without an adequate labour pool, some businesses will not be able to hire enough staff
A Help Wanted sign is displayed from a window in downtown Summerland. The continuing low unemployment rate could create challenges for employers in the coming months. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

There is a shortage of workers in British Columbia.

The most recent labour market statistics show the province had an unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent in March. In recent years, the unemployment rate in this province has been trending downward and for 11 of the past 12 months, the rate has been below five per cent.

Around the province, Help Wanted signs are commonplace and some businesses have been offering signing bonuses in order to attract workers to fill available positions.

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The low unemployment rate could create some challenges for employers in the months ahead. During the summer months, additional help is needed for businesses, especially those in the agricultural sector and in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Without an adequate labour pool, some businesses will not be able to hire enough staff to meet their needs.

Some businesses have reduced their hours of operation or cut back on some services they provide in order to cope with staffing shortages. Others have closed their doors entirely as a result of ongoing difficulties in filling vacant positions.

What is happening today with the shortage of workers should not be seen as a temporary problem. The low unemployment numbers could continue for some time to come.

According to 2022 data from Statistics Canada, more than one in five people in the working-age population – those between 15 and 64 years of age – are between 55 and 64. These people are nearing retirement and some will likely choose to retire early.

The number of people aged 55 to 64 is greater than the number of people between 15 and 24, the age when people normally enter the labour market.

Some long-term changes will be needed in order to cope with the present labour market.

For the present, businesses will continue to face the challenge of having adequate numbers of staff in order to do the work required.

— Black Press

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