Okanagan Economy And Jobs Market Likely To Worsen Next Year

Alberta Oil Economy Crash Reverberates in B.C.

2015 Seasonal Okanagan Economy Likely To Suffer:

Apparently all we need are more Temporary Foreign Workers

BC Business low ranking of Kelowna jobs market only adds to the problem

Future Shop, The Sequel

UPDATE: January 15, 2015. Target announced today that it will be closing all 133 stores in Canada, including the Vernon and Kelowna stores. eliminating at least a couple of hundred local $10/hr jobs and a handful of slightly better paid management jobs. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Target’s 17,000 + Canadian layoffs of low income workers will be the largest in Canadian history.

Just this week, Kelowna Now reported that B.C. Business ranked Kelowna 17th in B.C. for the quality of its jobs market. Seven key economic indicators were used to help reflect the health of a city’s job market including: income growth, average household income, population growth, unemployment, labour participation, the percentage of people with degrees and taking transit.  This came as no surprise to many. As if to underscore the issue, the comments on Kelowna Now’s Facebook page were in overwhelming agreement with the poor ranking, sprinkled with scathing criticism of the local jobs market, local government, and the local establishment, who seem not to be interested in the local economy.

In a jaw dropping display of callous indifference to the local economy and jobs market, local Kelowna community leaders, including UBCO Deputy Vice Chancellor, Deborah Buszard, met to discuss local employment. Coming on the heels of the B.C. Business report, Kelowna Now reported the discussion at the meeting. The main theme in this reported discussion was how can Kelowna get more cheap TFW labour for tourism. Apparently there was no higher level discussion about the recent B.C. Business ranking of Kelowna at 17th in jobs. No discussion of the local Target closures, or the lack of economic development, and denial of impending oil economy crash. This is why Kelowna is going nowhere fast.

READ MORE: Kelowna Business Community Calls For More Temporary Foreign Workers

As if to make matters worse, the plummeting price of Western Canadian Select, essentially Alberta refined bitumen, and dire global oil economy forecasts, have cast a dark cloud over the Okanagan economy’s prospects in 2015. Our largely seasonal tourism and service industry economies are likely to suffer serious shocks from Alberta’s problems.  The sightings of those red numbered license plates are likely to decline next summer. Both The Wall Street Journal and CNN Money are forecasting a recession in Texas in 2015, which mirrors the situation in Alberta, and is a wake up call to Kelownan’s.  At the same time, CBC’s The National has been broadcasting a discussion series this week on The Politics of Oil, and how Canada has bet the entire economy on oil rather than diversifying and investing in the future.

Read more: Kelowna’s Low Jobs Ranking

Read more: WSJ: Texas Heading for Oil Recession