Unemployment rate in Alberta falls to lowest level since 2015

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Alberta has hit its lowest unemployment rate in seven years.

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The April Labor Force Survey from Statistics Canada on Friday shows Alberta with an unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent, the province’s lowest mark since May 2015 when the rate was 5.9 per cent. The unemployment rate in March was 6.5 per cent.

The improvement is due to employment rising by almost 16,000 for a monthly increase of 0.7 per cent. Full-time positions increased by 9,800 (0.5 per cent) and part-time employment while it went up 6,100 (1.4 per cent).

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Calgary, however, is still at 7.2 per cent unemployment, though Trevor Tombe, a University if Calgary economist, said that can be misleading, taken out of context. He pointed to the participation rate in the city which is actually improving, meaning more people are re-entering the workforce market in the city.

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“What that does, even if the employment rate is rising, the unemployment rate can be rising, too,” he said. “It is possible for unemployment rates to be high but as a consequence of a good thing, you don’t want the unemployment rate to be low or falling because people are giving up searching for work.”

Alberta is still playing catch up in the workforce market with the rest of the country as the national rate hit a new record low of 5.2 per cent.

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The job gains in Alberta were carried by the service sector, accounting for 17,500 new positions. This included 11,000 jobs in trade, 4,500 jobs in health care, 3,000 in transport and warehousing and 3,000 in education. There were losses of 4,000 in building and other supports, another 4,000 in other services and 2,000 in information, culture and recreation.

There was a decline of 1,400 jobs in the goods-producing sector, though agriculture did see an increase of 1,000 positions.

The accommodation and food service sector remains 20 per cent below its pre-COVID levels and below levels across the rest of Canada.

jaldrich@postmedia.com

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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