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Area job prospects drop with mercury

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Winter doldrums have hit the Okanagan economy and pushed people out of work.
In the Thompson-Okanagan region surveyed by Statistics Canada to determine January unemployment figures, the labour force shrank, as did the number of people working. The number of jobless rose, and the unemployment rate spiked to 8.4 per cent.
In December, the unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent.
In Kelowna, the story is much the same with a smaller labour force, fewer employed and more unemployed.
The city's jobless rate in January was 7.3 per cent, up from 6.9 per cent the month before.
The economy always contracts in the Okanagan in the winter with it being the off-season for tourism and big industries such as forestry, construction and real estate slowing because of the weather.
Even retail hits the doldrums after the excitement of Christmas, Boxing Day and early January clearances.
The population of people aged 15-plus remained virtually the same in both the Thompson-Okanagan and Kelowna, yet the labour force shrank by 3,000 in each.
That could be people who are giving up on their job search for now because it is so bleak, thinking it will be better to resume in the spring.
It can also be workers deciding to take a job in the oilpatch in northern Alberta while maintaining a home in the Okanagan.
Nationally, there were actually job gains. Canada's unemployment rate dropped to seven per cent in January from 7.2 per cent in December.
The B.C. rate also fell - to 6.4 per cent from 6.6.
Cities with the lowest unemployment rates in January included Saskatoon and Quebec City, both at 4.3 per cent, Regina with 4.4, Calgary at 4.8 and Victoria with 4.9.
The highest jobless rates were found in St. Catharines with 8.8 per cent, Trois-Rivieres at 8.7, Toronto with 8.4 and Abbotsford at eight per cent.

Thompson-Okanagan
January 2014
- Population aged 15-plus: 434,400
- Labour force: 272,200
- Employed: 249,200
- Unemployed: 23,000
- Unemployment rate: 8.4 per cent
December 2013
- Population aged 15-plus: 434,400
- Labour force: 275,000
- Employed: 253,200
- Unemployed: 21,700
- Unemployment rate: 7.9 per cent
Kelowna
January 2014
- Population aged 15-plus: 152,000
- Labour force: 95,000
- Employed: 88,100
- Unemployed: 6,900
- Unemployment rate: 7.3 per cent
December 2013
- Population aged 15-plus: 151,900
- Labour force: 98,000
- Employed: 91,200
- Unemployed: 6,800
- Unemployment rate: 6.9 per cent

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