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| Press Release

Departure of young workers from Thompson-Okanagan concerning

KELOWNA, British Columbia, June 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the Regional Check-Up report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), the Thompson-Okanagan’s labour market faced some challenges, particularly in the retention of young workers at a time of when recruitment is difficult across various industries.

In 2018, the Thompson-Okanagan’s goods sector lost 5,200 jobs. The largest decline occurred in the agriculture industry, which saw a reduction of 3,300 workers. This left the industry’s labour force at less than half of its five-year average despite higher crop yields in 2018. Summer fires and on-going recruitment challenges in the region likely contributed to this decline. Manufacturing lost 2,000 jobs, while construction lost another 1,000 jobs. The forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas industry added 200 jobs.

“Our service sector added a total of 700 jobs. But this increase is somewhat deceiving, as only the trade, education, and health care and social assistance industries reported job gains,” said Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA, partner at MNP LLP in Kelowna. “In fact, more telling are the 12,200 jobs that were lost in the other service industries. While this could be attributed to slowing housing activity and moderating consumer demand, the bigger issue is recruitment challenges. On average, there were over 11,000 job vacancies in each quarter of 2018, up 14.4 per cent from 2017.”

Despite overall job losses in the Thompson-Okanagan, the region’s unemployment rate fell by one percentage point to 6.1 per cent. This was the result of the loss of 7,700 workers in the region’s labour force. Of the 7,700 workers leaving, almost 42 per cent were workers between the ages 19 to 24.

“Given the recruitment challenges we are experiencing, it is concerning to see the departure of 3,200 young workers. Our region’s economy is service-oriented, and many of the lower-level jobs are filled by young workers. As demand continues to grow from service industries, we will need to seek innovative ways to source and recruit talent,” noted Christiansen.

As of May 2019, the region’s labour market regained some traction, reaching 269,100 positions. Gains were largely led by hiring in the professional, scientific and technical services, agriculture, and business, building and other support services industries.

About CPABC Regional Check-Up – Thompson-Okanagan
The Thompson-Okanagan Development Region comprises five Regional Districts, the Okanagan-Similkameen, Thompson-Nicola, Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Columbia-Shuswap, and has the third-highest population after Southwest B.C. and Vancouver Island/Coast.

The CPABC Regional Check-Up reports look at British Columbia’s eight Development Regions as a place to work, invest, and live. The reports are available online at: www.bccheckup.com.  

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students and candidates. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vivian Tse, Public Affairs Manager
604.488.2647
vtse@bccpa.ca

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