Okanagan unemployment rate rises

About 1,600 more people were looking for work in the Central Okanagan in January compared to the same time last year.

Figures released by Statistics Canada Friday indicate 6,300 people were looking for work in January compared with 4,700 in January, 2008. Approximately 5,700 were looking for employment in December of last year.

The unemployment rate in Kelowna rose .6% from 5.8% in December of last year to 6.4% in January. A year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 4.9%.

The rise in the unemployment rate locally was consistent with the Canadian rate and slightly better than the B.C. rate.

The unemployment rate nationally rose .6% to 7.2% in January as a record 129,000 jobs were lost, mostly in Ontario.

In British Columbia, the unemployment rate stands at 6.1%, up from 5.3% in December of last year.

About 68,000 full time jobs were lost in the province in January.

Throughout the Thompson-Okanagan economic region, 19,400 people were looking for work in January, up 2,000 from December. The unemployment rate of 7% is up from 6.2% in December.

Ironically, while unemployment numbers are up around the region, so too is the number of people working.

In Kelowna, 91,500 were employed in January, up nearly 1,000 from January of 2008. Across the Thompson-Okanagan, 256,900 people were working in January, up 3,000 from the same month in 2008.

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