The Kootenay region is well ahead of the rest of the province when it comes to unemployment and job recovery, according to recent statistics.
Statistics Canada is reporting a 3.9 per cent unemployment rate for the region, compared to a 4.7 per cent unemployment rate for the province as a whole (behind Manitoba 3.5 per cent, Saskatchewan four per cent and Quebec 4.1 per cent).
The Kootenay region is not the lowest unemployment rate in the province, with the Vancouver Island and Coast region holding the honour at 3.7 per cent.
This contrasts with one year ago when the Kootenay region had the second highest unemployment in the province at 5.8 per cent.
The national unemployment rate matched the historic low reached in June, while the adjusted unemployment rate — which includes people who were not in the labour force but wanted to work — remained at 6.8 per cent in July, also matching its record low.
Across the nation, the unemployment rate in July was unchanged at 4.9 per cent. The province added 14,900 full-time jobs last month.
“We know that the record low unemployment rate is contributing to a tight labour market,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
“As of July, there was little indication that tight labour market conditions in recent months had led to an increase in the likelihood of workers voluntarily leaving a job or switching jobs,” the StatsCan survey stated.
“The number of core-aged (25 to 54 years) job leavers — people who left a job voluntarily in the previous 12 months and remained not employed in the Labour Force Survey (LFS) reference week — stood at 346,000 in July, down 3.4 per cent (-12,000) compared with before the pandemic in July 2019.”
In line with the number of COVID-19 cases increasing in July, some employers and workers have responded by increasing the number of hours worked from home.
StatsCan reported that among people who were at work in July, “the proportion who worked most of their hours at home edged up 0.4 percentage points to 24.2 per cent (population aged 15 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).
“Alongside short-term shifts in work location, many employers have continued to implement a longer-term transition towards hybrid work arrangements in recent months, with employees working some hours at home and some hours in a location other than home,” StatsCan reported.