Job growth slowing in Thompson-Okanagan with the end of tourist season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Job growth slowing in Thompson-Okanagan with the end of tourist season

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November 04, 2020 - 2:30 PM

Local support of business and workers will be critical to the recovery from this year’s COVID-19 dampened economy, according to the governing body for chartered accounts in B.C.

Job growth slowed in the Thompson-Okanagan region as the tourist season came to an end in September, but it appears the worst of the economic damage caused by COVID-19 lockdowns is behind us, the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia states in a media release issued, Nov. 3.

“The situation remains more challenging than in previous years with the loss of international tourism and more rigid business requirements,” MNP LLP Kelowna partner Karen Christiansen said in the release.

The Thompson-Okanagan has recouped jobs since the lowest point of the pandemic restriction in May, but in spite of four consecutive months of gains, employment remained down 5.3 per cent in September compared to a year ago. The unemployment rate was 9 per cent in September.

"Despite ongoing development and increasing demand seen over the summer in the region’s real estate market, construction employment remains down compared to last year. However, that’s relative to the historically high levels of construction activity witnessed over the past few years,” Christiansen said.

The goods and services sector lost 14,900 positions, with the construction industry's 5,800 lost jobs offset somewhat by an increase of 2,700 jobs in the agricultural sector.

The Thompson-Okanagan’s service sector losses, which were concentrated in retail and wholesale trade, hospitality and information and culture and recreation industries, has regained momentum and has largely recouped much of the early employment losses. There were gains in service industries such as personal and household services which helped minimize losses. Health care, social assistance, finance, insurance and real estate also experienced some job gains.

“2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. As we continue into fall and tourism slows, we will have more bumps ahead on our road to recovery,” Christiansen said. “It is important that we continue to support the region’s businesses and workers, so that we can weather this pandemic together.”

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