Kamloops unemployment low due to tourism, mining

The unemployment rate might have jumped in B.C. in July, but the local tourism and mining sector held the city’s numbers steady, says the president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.

“Whenever you hear that employment is doing well, that means that business is doing well,” Bob Dieno said Friday.

For the second month in a row, the city’s unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent, the latest report from the province states. That means no change from June to July.

Dieno attributes the hold to a thriving tourism sector. He said most hotels have had a good summer and are booked solid.

“It’s been very busy. It’s been very consistent. With that comes steady employment,” he said.

The mining industry is also doing well. Dieno said New Gold and Highland Valley Copper continue to hire staff.

He said the Highland Valley expansion in particular has created a need for many new employees, with busloads of people taken to the mine every day from Valleyview Shopping Mall.

“Those aren’t low paying jobs,” said Dieno. “I think it’s a sign that we’re doing well.”

Richard Boyce, president of Steelworkers Union Local 7619, recently told The Daily News that Teck Resources is hiring between 15 and 20 people a month to work at Highland Valley.

Dieno said Ajax has also hired more personnel. KGHM spokeswoman Robin Bartlett said the only recent hires are former Daily News editor Robert Koopmans, lawyer John O’Fee and a couple of engineers.

She said the mine proponent employs 22 people in the city.

As a whole, the unemployment rate jumped in B.C. in July with the loss of 11,700 jobs. The latest figures show the provincial rate climbed from 6.3 in June to 6.7 per cent.

Part-time workers, especially those in the wholesale and retail sectors, saw the biggest losses in the province, dropping by 17,800 jobs, partially offset by a gain in full-time work of 6,100.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, said monthly fluctuations are expected and she notes B.C. has experienced job losses in July in three of the last five years.

Figures show youth employment, for those under 24 years old, decreased in July by 7,700 jobs compared to last month.

There were strong gains in employment in the goods-producing sector, driven by 9,500 jobs in construction and 1,700 who found work in the agriculture industry.

THE DAILY NEWS/ THE CANADIAN PRESS

This article originally appeared on Kamloops – The Daily News 

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