Statistics Canada has released its monthly job numbers and found that Kelowna had an unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent.
Local business owners are not surprised at the unemployment rate in the Central Okanagan.
Amarjit Singh Lalli owns multiple small businesses in the Okanagan, including two Subway restaurants and a farm.
“No, it does not surprise me one bit; it’s just like the vacancy rate here. I mean, people are having a hard time finding a place to live and the same thing is with employers. Everyone across the board is struggling to fill the positions they’ve got,” says Lalli.
The high cost of living in the region is making it hard to attract people to minimum wage jobs.
“It’s actually a lack of people and the other issue is having the right person for the right job, especially for the lower-paying job. We are seeing an issue with not enough people applying and wanting to work,” adds Lalli.
The statistic is the sixth lowest amongst Canada’s metropolitan areas. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says talent and the shortage of labour is affecting economic growth for the entire country.
“You might be employed and very happy right now but this is why this matters to you. The other thing that we are concerned about, improved wages is one thing but the pressure of the wages to build up has inflationary pressures as well,” explains Chamber of Commerce senior director Leah Nord.
“Again, this is why it’s not just an issue for individual businesses but it’s an issue for everyone in your community and everyone in Canada.”
The federal government ended the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for the unemployed in October, so there is some hope that may push some people back into the workforce.