Alberta’s jobless rate hit a nearly 22 year high in July. About 1,400 net jobs were lost in the province, which Statistics Canada describes as relatively unchanged. However, more people were looking for work last month causing the unemployment rate in the province to jump 7/10ths of a point to 8.6%, the highest since September 1994. It’s also the first time Alberta’s jobless rate is higher than that of Nova Scotia.
ATB Financial Senior Economist Todd Hirsch says we’re not out of the woods yet. “I think we’re still looking at probably a few more months of struggle before we can stabilize the economy and see improvements in the job market.”
At 8.6% Calgary has the highest unemployment rate of any major city in the country. Sudbury, Ontario at 8.1% is next. Calgary’s rate rose 3/10ths of a point from June. Edmonton, meanwhile, saw its rate jump 7/10ths of a point to 7.7%. Hirsch says that might be “a reflection in July of still a lot of people displaced from Fort McMurray, if they maybe moved to other parts of the province, particularly Edmonton.”
B-MO chief economist Doug Porter warns the latest data did not fully capture the impact from the Fort McMurray fire and evacuations in May, adding the unemployment picture for Alberta may be even worse than now know as a result.
Over the past year, full-time employment in Alberta is down 104,000 positions. Part-time work is up 54,000 jobs, but the net loss is still 49,000 jobs.
Across Canada, there were 31 thousand jobs lost, mostly in Ontario. The national unemployment rate is up a tenth to 6.9 per cent.