Kelowna lost thousands of jobs in April, according to Labour Force Survey - InfoNews

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Kelowna lost thousands of jobs in April, according to Labour Force Survey

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May 08, 2020 - 9:12 AM

Kelowna’s unemployment rate took a significant jump last month, rising from  5.9 per cent to 8.1 per cent, according to the latest Labour Force Survey data.

That means the number of people who are employed in the Central Okanagan fell from 101,900 to 96,600. There were 103,900 employed in the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area before the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the economy in mid-March.

Statistics Canada reported the national unemployment rate rose 5.2 percentage points in April to 13.0 per cent.

This followed an increase of 2.2 percentage points in March.

The April unemployment rate was second only to the 13.1 per cent observed in the recession of December 1982, and it could have been worse.

The rate would have been 17.8 per cent but was adjusted to reflect those who were not counted as unemployed for reasons specific to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

“During the week of April 12, 1.1 million people were not in the labour force but had worked recently (in March or April) and wanted to work. They were not counted as unemployed but were counted as not in the labour force because they did not look for work, presumably due to ongoing business closures and very limited opportunities to find new work,” the labour survey states.

Job losses were hardest on Canada's youth, aged 15 to 24, according to the survey.

"As a group, they are more likely to hold less secure jobs in hard-hit industries such as accommodation and food services," the report states. "From February to April, employment among youth declined by 873,000 (-34.2 per cent), while an additional 385,000 (or one in four) who remained employed in April lost all or the majority of their usual hours worked (not adjusted for seasonality). Employment declined faster among those aged 15 to 19 (-40.4 per cent) than among those aged 20 to 24 (-31.1 per cent), reflecting the less secure jobs held by those in the younger age category."

Among students aged 15 to 24 in April, the unemployment rate increased to 31.7 per cent, "signalling that many could face difficulties in continuing to pay for their studies."

Among non-student youth, a little more than half were employed in April, down from three-quarters in February (data not seasonally adjusted).

British Columbia announced its plans to gradually reopen the economy on Tuesday, saying retail stores, hair salons, child care, restaurants, libraries and museums could reopen in an altered way starting May 19, along with some medical treatments.

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