Kelowna’s economy firing on all cylinders
After grinding to a halt in 2016 job growth in Kelowna is rolling again.
Help wanted signs are popping up across the city as employers look for workers in all sectors of the city’s booming economy.
Ryan Lund owns Rutland Glass. He says the company has resorted to extraordinary measures to find and keep employees.
“We’re offering apprenticeships to people and footing the full bill to get them through school and create loyalty. That way they hopefully stick around for the long haul,” said Lund.
Last year, Kelowna was one of the toughest places to find a job in the country with an unemployment rate over seven per cent and job growth at minus two per cent.
But what a difference a year makes. Kelowna’s jobless rate is now 5.4 per cent. Job growth is pegged at more than 14 per cent. That’s tops in the country.
The mayor says the sagging economy in Alberta played a big role in Kelowna’s high unemployment numbers last year.
“What really hit us hard and impacted our numbers when were at the bottom of the list was a number of people who were working in Alberta but called Kelowna home. They were laid off in Alberta but still have a Kelowna address and were counted towards our unemployment numbers,” Basran said.
The biggest downside to a living in a city with a booming economy is inflation. With workers demanding higher salaries, the additional costs are being passed on to the consumer.
“They come to you and they want two dollars more an hour. Obviously that’s coming out of my pocket, so at the end of the day, obviously you pass that on to the consumer,” Ryan Lund said.
So while job growth might appear to be a good thing it does have its pitfalls where service suffers and the consumer ends up paying the price.