Kelowna mayor Colin Basran maintains the city is in good economic shape, contrary to a report  that says Kelowna is second-to-last in Canada when it comes to finding a job.

Kelowna plummeted from the second-best city in the country to find a job last year, to the second-worst place, this year, according to a Bank of Montreal report released last week. The city had an unemployment rate of seven per cent in January 2016 according to the labour market report. 

"I'm actually a little bit surprised," said Basran.

"When you think about the fact that we're coming off one of our busiest years in terms of development, both residential and commercial, … I was a little bit caught off guard by the report."

He suggests the numbers may be skewed by the struggling oil industry in Alberta.

"One question I'm going to have is how many of these people are potentially people from Alberta, who have been commuting from Kelowna to Alberta, who are no longer doing that?"

Basran says city council will keep an eye on the numbers to ensure this dip in employment is just a "blip" and not the beginning of a trend.

Positive signs

But most signs point to a healthy economy and city, said Basran.

Real estate sales from Albertans, who make up 15 per cent of buyers, have remained steady according to Basran. Other indicators, like airport traffic, have been decent too.

"Our numbers at the airport, in terms of people travelling to Kelowna … have been down slightly for a couple of months last year, but only slightly," he said.

Kelowna has one of the lowest business tax rates in the province, according to Basran.

He says it's part of city council's strategy to attract more businesses to Kelowna, like animation studio Bardel Entertainment, who just hired 50 people in the town.  

"I've made it no secret that the tech sector is one that I want to see growth in, in our community."

Guelph, Ontario came in first in the BMO report with an unemployment rate of four per cent. 

Meanwhile, Sudbury, Ontario, ranked last with an unemployment rate of 8.6 per cent. 


To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Kelowna second-worst place to find a job in Canada.