Kelowna, like the rest of the region has seen slow job growth over the last several years, but is forecasted to see steady if somewhat modest job growth in the future.
Here is a more detailed look at job growth and the unemployment rate in Kelowna as well as the entire Thompson Okanagan region.
Looking at the Regional Labour Market Outlook 2010 – 2020 THOMPSON – OKANAGAN document provides valuable insight for job growth in Kelowna and the Thompson Okanagan region. Growth in the area is expected to be modest, sitting around 1.1 percent annually with the highest employment growth in industries related to health care, science, professional, managerial, utilities and accommodation and food services. This will equal roughly 110,320 job openings. Most of these job openings will be due to the replacement of retiring workers (72%) with the remainder created by economic expansion.
The highest job growth demand will be in health related occupations including dentists, nurses, doctors and support staff. Even with moderate growth, it is projected that there will be a labour shortage starting in 2014, specifically in the service and professional related industries such as retail, health services, social services, education and religion.
Much of the region’s current population is employed in the service industry, which employs around 73% of the region’s workforce as compared to 78% for the province of BC as a whole. While much of the region is employed in the service sector, the Thompson Okanagan is still heavily dependent on goods production such as agriculture, construction, utilities and forestry, fishing and mining.
A good sign of economic health in the city, Kelowna’s unemployment rate was 6.5% for September. According to the Regional Labour Market Statistics on the Work BC site, Kelowna’s unemployment rate is sitting slightly below the regional rate for the Thompson Okanagan (6.8%). The rate is also currently lower than Vancouver’s (6.9%) as well as other Thompson Okanagan cities such as Vernon’s (6.9%).