Flattening employment growth in the Thompson-Okanagan region is concerning

British Columbia Chartered Professional Accountants

British Columbia Chartered Professional Accountants

KELOWNA, British Columbia, Nov. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the BC balance sheet: Work, an annual report from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on employment trends in the province, total employment in the Thompson-Okanagan region reached 309,900 in September 2022, up 1, 5% from September 2021. However, employment was about the same as September 2019 (310,000).

“While our region has seen some job growth over the past year, it is somewhat concerning to see that job growth was in part-time positions, while full-time positions have slightly decreased. Additionally, over the past three years, the level of employment has remained stable,” said Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA, partner at MNP LLP in Kelowna. “In contrast, our population has increased by 5.3% since September 2019. The low unemployment rate also masks the fact that many job seekers have left the labor force.”

Unemployment was 4.9% in September 2022, compared to 5.4% in September 2021 and 4.5% in September 2019.

The activity rate was 63.0% in September 2022, compared to the pre-pandemic level of 66.0% in 2019. In total, the number of inactive residents increased by 14.8% during this period (+24 700).

“The steady decline in the number of people looking for work is a worrying trend,” Christiansen said. “Companies have faced significant challenges in finding and retaining workers, which is negatively impacting economic growth and productivity in our region. The situation also varied greatly across sectors and industries.

Overall, the region’s goods sector accounted for 67,100 jobs in September 2022, down 1.9% from September 2021. Declines in the natural resources labor force (-22.9 %) and construction (-9.9%) led to losses during this period. Employment in the goods sector has fallen 5.6% since September 2019.

Service-sector employment reached 242,800 in September 2022, a 2.4% increase from September 2021. This was driven by growth in information, culture and recreation ( +36.4 percent), wholesale and retail trade (+31.9 percent), and hospitality (+18.1 percent).

Overall, employment in the service sector increased by 1.7% compared to September 2019. However, employment in the hospitality (-20.4%) and wholesale trade industries and retail (-14.2%) remained down over this period.

In the second quarter of 2022, the Thompson-Okanagan region had a record vacancy rate of 8.1%, representing 22,900 job vacancies.

“The number of job vacancies increased by almost a quarter compared to 2021 and by 80.6% compared to the pre-pandemic level,” said Christiansen. “These unfilled jobs are holding back our economy and mean fewer services and goods for residents. Going forward, it is essential that we find ways to improve the situation, such as attracting workers to the region, improving housing affordability and providing skills training, especially for industries facing greater labor shortages.

Thompson-Okanagan

Sep-19

Sep 21

Sep 22

Unemployment rate (%)

4.5

5.4

4.9

Employment (thousands)

310.0

305.4

309.9

Full time (thousands)

240.2

242.1

239.9

Part-time (thousands)

69.8

63.2

70.1

Rate of participation (%)

66.0

63.5

63.0

Learn more about the BC Check-Up: live report. The data comes from Statistics Canada’s Labor Force Survey, follows a three-month moving average and is not seasonally adjusted.

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About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the education, governance and regulatory body for more than 38,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA students. The CPABC fulfills its primary mission of protecting the public by applying the highest professional and ethical standards and by contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are internationally recognized for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business vision and leadership to organizations.

CONTACT: For more information: Aaron Aerts, Economist 604.442.9161 news@bccpa.ca

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