CPABC: Kootenays labour market remains resilient, despite lowest labour force participation rate in the province

CRANBROOK, British Columbia, Nov. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Work, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on B.C. labour market trends, the unemployment rate in the Kootenays was 5.7 per cent in October 2023, holding steady on a year-over-year basis.

“It’s encouraging to see the Kootenay’s labour market continue its strong performance through 2023,” said Mike Calder, CPA, CA, partner at BDO Canada. “Employment levels have been stable over the last year, and the unemployment rate remained at pre-pandemic levels.”

As of October 2023, there were 78,000 Kootenay residents in the workforce, little changed from one year ago. There were 58,200 full-time workers, marking a marginal decline of 7.9 per cent from October 2022. This was offset by an increase in part-time work (+42.4 per cent).

The labour force participation rate in the region was unchanged from last year, holding at 57.8 per cent. Since October 2020, the proportion of residents either working or looking to work has fallen by 6.2 percentage points.

“The longer-term dip in the labour force participation rate is pretty consistent with having an aging population,” continued Calder. “I’ve noted previously that our population is among the oldest in the province, so it’s no surprise that our labour force participation is also among the lowest.”

The services sector employed 57,100 workers in October 2023, virtually unchanged from a year ago. At the industry level, healthcare and social assistance expanded by nearly 50 per cent, adding 4,200 workers during the year. Many other industries experienced employment changes, with notable declines in professional services (-3,000 workers) and information, culture, and recreation (-2,200 workers).

“The pandemic really exacerbated some of the challenges faced in delivering adequate health care to the region,” continued Calder. “Labour shortages hampered our ability to provide timely health services to Kootenay residents, so an increase in the health workforce is a move in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, goods sector employment was also little changed from one year ago, with 20,900 workers as of October 2023.

“Attracting younger residents who are in their prime working years and who have the necessary skills to fill vacancies in the region will continue to be a priority going forward,” concluded Calder. “It’s also important that we ensure the region’s infrastructure can support them.”

To learn more, see

About CPA British Columbia

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 39,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA candidates and students. 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.


Contact Data