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Kelowna area jobless rate creeps up as more workers join force

Around 7,000 people in the Central Okanagan are without jobs and looking
Construction workers walk up a set of stairs at Union Station during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Kelowna’s unemployment rate increased by half a percentage point in June, according to Statistics Canada.

The rise to 6.3 per cent marks the third consecutive month of increases in the Kelowna census metropolitan area, which includes the area between Peachland and Lake Country.

The Kelowna area also saw a 1,100-person increase in the labour force, the number of people employed or looking for work, to 111,700 — the first upward movement in that area since December 2020.

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Despite the labour force increase in June, there was only a 600-person increase — to 104,800 — in the number of employed workers in the area.

Still, 6.3 per cent gives Kelowna the eighth-lowest unemployment rate among large metro areas in Canada. Around 7,000 people are without jobs and looking for work.

Across Canada, the economy added 230,700 jobs in June as restrictions put in place to slow the pandemic were rolled back across the country. The national unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent for the month, compared with 8.2 per cent in May.

The gain came as the number of part-time positions rose 263,900, bringing it basically back to pre-pandemic levels, while the number of full-time jobs fell 33,200.

Statistics Canada said Friday the part-time gains were driven by jumps in jobs in the hard-hit retail and food services sectors and concentrated among youth.

— With files from The Canadian Press


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