The unemployment rate in Thompson-Okanagan has shrunk by nearly four per cent since September of 2020.
That’s according to the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. in their latest report ‘BC Check-Up: Work,’ which was released on Oct. 26.
Unemployment in the region reached 9 per cent last September after the number plummeted to 4.5 per cent 12 months earlier in 2019.
As of September, total employment in Thompson-Okanagan sits at 305,400, an increase of 4.4 from the previous year.
“To meet increasing consumer demand, businesses in the region have hired nearly 13,000 workers over the past year,” said Karen Christiansen with MNP LLP in Kelowna. “However, one concerning trend is a sustained decrease in the proportion of residents looking for work.”
The region’s workforce has decreased by 1.5 per cent since September 2019 and the number of people either employed or looking for work has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic level.
“The lower proportion of people looking for work puts additional pressure on businesses looking to hire, contributing to the rising shortage of labour in the region,” Christiansen said.
The participation rate fell from 64.2 per cent in 2020 to 63.5 per cent in 2021, a decrease from 66 per cent pre-pandemic.
“The data suggests many former part-time workers have left the labour force.”
Data shows that the service sector has added 12,300 positions over the last 12 months. However, the hospitality workforce has seen a decline, according to the annual report.