Unemployment fell to an historic low in the Central Okanagan last year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Unemployment fell to an historic low in the Central Okanagan last year

More than 3,700 more people were working in the Central Okanagan in 2019 versus 2018.
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February 20, 2020 - 12:45 PM

Even though the Central Okanagan’s workforce grew by 2,700 people last year the unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate in decades.

That’s according to a year end economic report released by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission yesterday, Feb. 19.

The unemployment rate for the year was four per cent, lower than it has been for more than 20 years, the report states, noting that about 3,700 more people were working than the year before.

The region’s labour force hit 109,742 people by the end of the year with 105,358 listed as employed.

Almost 30 per cent of job postings in 2019 were in sales and service jobs. Another 13.4 per cent were in business, finance and administration occupations with about 10 per cent in each of management jobs and trades, transport and equipment operations.

It was also the second fastest growing area in B.C. at 1.9 per cent, second only to Chilliwack at 2.5 per cent. That means there are now an estimated 217,214 people living in the Central Okanagan, up about 4,000 from 2018.

One of the few negative statistics in the report was a 12.9 per cent drop in housing starts to 2,225 (494 single family and 1,731 multi-family) but that was counterbalanced by the fact that the value of building permits was up by 17.9 per cent.

Most of that increase was in non-residential construction with permits totalling almost 201 million versus about $118 million the year before. Even with fewer housing starts, the value of those homes rose by more than $4 million to $383.6 million.

The median price for a new home in Kelowna climbed 5.6 per cent to $950,000, which is just shy of the $995,000 in Toronto but far below the $1.8 million in Vancouver.

Business licences increased by 5.5 per cent to 13,882.

The report can be seen here.

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