Alberta reaches 4.9% unemployment rate, on par with Canada
The unemployment the rate in Alberta fell to 4.9% last month, the lowest level since 2015. It was also the first time since 2015, Alberta had a similar unemployment rate as the whole country.
Chief economist Charles St. Arnaud of Alberta said it was a sign that the province was on track after the pandemic.
St. “The performance of that labor market is very strong,” says Arnaud.
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St. Arnaud said one factor driving the unemployment rate down was that older workers appeared to be leaving the job market, while Alberta saw a slight increase in employment in June.
Unemployment is highest in Red Deer at 5.7%, Lethbridge-Medicine Hat at 5.2%. Calgary and Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake at 5.0%. Edmonton is level with Alberta at 4%, and Camrose-Drumheller the lowest with 4.2%.
“It speaks to how strong the recovery is in the province, it also speaks to how supportive the economy is when oil hits $110 a barrel, so that’s very positive,” St. Arnaud said.
In a statement, Employment Minister Doug Schweitzer said an additional 200,000 jobs have been added in Alberta since January 2021. He also noted that the inflation rate continues to be a concern.
“Alberta is seeing growth and new jobs in communities large and small across Alberta. The Alberta Recovery Plan is live. “
NDP economic development and innovation critic Deron Bilous worries that the numbers aren’t as good as they seem. He pointed to 7,100 Albertans leaving the workforce.
“The question is what are those 7,000 people doing and how many of them will leave Alberta altogether,” Bilous said.
St. Arnaud said the rate hike is likely to take its toll through the end of the year.
“So the chain reaction is going to lead to weaker consumption, which leads to weaker demand, weaker business activity, and those businesses need to hire less,” St. Arnaud said.
“Towards the end of the year it will be a question of how much higher interest rates slow the economy and how much that could negatively impact the labor market.”
St. Arnaud said that Alberta could be fine as it is riding on a positive headwind from high oil prices.
“At least here in Alberta, we are quarantined or less affected because we have some very positive dynamics for the economy.”
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