Low unemployment rate continues in the Kootenays



Has your commute seemed busier these days? What about parking, more difficult? Normally quiet places seem slightly busier? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may not be surprised to hear the region’s population grew again last month. With 100 more people in our communities in December, we’ve seen overall growth of about 500 people since June.

Yet there continue to be more jobs than available workers. If you are looking for work, that is good news.

The region’s unemployment rate dropped to a low of 2.9% in December, down 1% from November. While 400 people said they’d found a job during the month, an equal number of people left the workforce. Why would 400 people leave the labour market? Retirement or medical reasons are just two possible explanations.

This is not new, it’s the same trend we’ve been seeing for months – people continue to get jobs while others are exiting their job search altogether. It highlights that everyone needs to pursue their own path, and we can help you with that.

British Columbia

BC followed a similar trend as there was a drop in the province’s unemployment to 4.2%, the third lowest in Canada for December. This is highlighted by 16,600 people starting a job last month.


Canada overall saw 104,000 more people get a job in December, reflected by a drop of .1% in the country’s unemployment rate, bringing it down to 5%. The growth in employment was led by youth aged 15–24 years followed by people 55 – 64. Women 25 – 54 with children under age 6 also saw big increases in employment.

With multiple viral and respiratory illnesses continuing to make waves across the country, it’s no surprise to see that close to 1 in 10 employees reported being absent during the month: 8.1%, up from 6.8% in November. As illnesses such as Covid and influenza persist, we can anticipate seeing higher rates of absenteeism continuing.

Wages continued to increase, up 5.1% from December 2021, or +1.57 to $32.06. Ending the year, roughly 1 in every 10 workers currently has a hybrid working arrangement, up 6% from the start of the year. Hybrid indicates a combination of working from home and in the place of business, and if you are job searching, you can likely anticipate continuing to see this style of work available for many roles.

Understanding labour market trends can help you decide on your skills training and job search path. Have questions? Contact us to see how we can help you.

Questions or comments? Alia Locken, Research Officer at the Skills Centre, prepared this release. Contact her through email alocken@skillscentre.ca or phone (250)368-6360 ext 223.
*Unadjusted, 3-month moving average
**Seasonally adjusted


Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0387-02 Labour force characteristics by province and economic region, three-month moving average, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000) Jan 16, 2023

Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0287-01 Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle, last 5 months Jan 16, 2023

Statistics Canada. The Daily — Labour Force Survey, December 2022 (statcan.gc.ca) Jan 16, 2023

BC Stats. Labour Force Statistics Highlights Issue #22-12 (gov.bc.ca) Jan 16, 2023