Tracey Matthews of Okanagan Staffing Services stands outside her office in downtown Kelowna.
"Wages need to go way up in the Okanagan," said the recruitment manager.
"And it would be nice if employers called applicants back one way or the other. I sit across from job seekers every day who say the same thing: they've applied for 30 jobs and haven't heard back from a single employer."
Matthews feels too many employers hide behind the outdated Okanagan-lifestyle, sunshine-tax adage, allowing them to lowball salaries.
"Many Okanagan employers want to pay an administrator with 20 years' experience $12 to $14 an hour," said Matthews.
"In Vancouver or Calgary, they could easily make $18 to $24 an hour."
The response in such cases from local companies might very well be: fine, go to Vancouver or Calgary and make that.
Increasing numbers are doing so.
Employment figures for July released Friday by Statistics Canada show the labour force actually shrunk in the Thompson-Okanagan, to 269,900 last month from 284,100 in July 2012.
What that means is qualified people have stopped looking for work because they don't want to accept low wages or they've moved out of the area for better-paying jobs.
It shows in the number employed as well.
Last month, 252,200 had jobs in the Thompson-Okanagan, down from 266,400 in the same month last year.
The unemployment rate in the Thompson-Okanagan was 6.6 per cent in July, up from 6.2 per cent in the same month last year.
In Kelowna, July's jobless rate was 8.4 per cent, a jump from 7.7 per cent in June.
The numbers show the Okanagan isn't necessarily the summer employment powerhouse it has been in the past.
That's baffling in many ways because while there are lots of job seekers, there are also lots of job openings.
"It's very sporadic - hit and miss," said Matthews.
"There are lots looking and lots of jobs out there, but it may all come back to that the wages are too low."
Another phenomenon is the two-in-one worker.
"Instead of hiring two people, employers are looking for ways to hire one and effectively have them do two jobs," said Matthews.
"We especially see that when companies want to hire an administrator who can also be the bookkeeper."
Wages for labourers tend to be so low - $13 an hour and less - there's constant turnover in the sector.
"Labourers will work somewhere only until something better comes along," said Matthews.
Matthews uses her son as an example.
He could make $13 an hour in Kelowna or head off to Grande Prairie, Alta., and make $7,000 a month.
He's in Grande Prairie.
The national unemployment rate in July was 7.2 per cent, a slight increase from 7.1 per cent in June. That indicates the Canadian economy is not picking up the way it was forecast.
B.C.'s jobless rate popped up to 6.7 per cent from 6.3.
Some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country are found in Regina (3.5), Saskatoon (3.9), and Edmonton and Quebec City (both at 4.8).
The highest percentages are in St. John, N.B. (10.9), Trois-Rivieres, Que. (9.9), Peterborough, Ont. (9.6), and Windsor, Ont. (9.2).