Metro Kelowna’s unemployment rate did not change in July, sticking at exactly 4% and remaining as one of Canada’s lowest marks.
It was the same story across the country, as Statistics Canada reported in its labour force survey that the nation’s unemployment rate also remained unchanged at a historic low of 4.9%.
Kelowna’s mark of 4% represented the 10th lowest unemployment rate in Canada and the lowest in Western Canada. The rate was as high as 7.2% in January but dropped every month in 2022 until it hit 4% in June.
According to the data, 113,100 of the 188,600 people in Metro Kelowna who were able to work last month were employed, while 4,700 were not.
The labour shortage had an effect on the entire Thompson Okanagan’s unemployment rate, which dropped to 5% in July from 5.8% in June.
B.C.’s unemployment rate last month was 4.7%, up from 4.6% in June.
Statistics Canada said the economy lost 31,000 jobs, marking the second consecutive month of job losses.
The number of public sector employees fell, while the number of self-employed workers rose. There was little change in the number of private sector workers.
Canada’s labour market remains exceptionally tight, with more than one million job vacancies across the country. The unemployment rate is the lowest on record with comparable data going back to 1976.
Statistics Canada says despite the labour shortage, there is no evidence of a rise in the proportion of people leaving or switching jobs.
The report also looked at the ongoing health-care worker shortage, with a focus on nurses. According to Statistics Canada, more than one in five nurses worked paid overtime hours in July, the highest level since comparable data became available in 1997.
For comparison, about 10% of all other employees worked overtime in July.
As Canada faced the seventh wave of COVID-19 infections, 11.2% of nurses were off sick for at least part of the week when the labour force survey was conducted.
The Bank of Canada is paying close attention to employment levels in the country as it gears up to make its next key interest rate announcement in September, when it’s expected to raise interest rates once more.
While economic growth slows in the country as the central bank attempts to tame inflation with higher interest rates, economists have noted that the tight labour market makes the slowdown unique in its nature.
— with files from The Canadian Press