Alberta sees minor rise in unemployment in January, Calgary’s jobless rate remains highest in province

Alberta’s unemployment rate climbed ever-so-slightly last month, as did unemployment rates in the province’s largest cities.

According to Statistics Canada’s January 2023 Labour Force Survey, Alberta recorded a jobless rate of six per cent, a meager increase from 5.8 per cent in December 2022.

The highest unemployment rate in Alberta’s major metropolitan areas was seen in Calgary, where it rose three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.6 per cent.

In Edmonton, the jobless rate sat at 5.6 per cent last month compared to 5.5 per cent the month prior.

Lethbridge saw a 4.1 per cent unemployment rate in January, up from 3.9 per cent in December 2022.

Canada’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at five per cent in January.

Statistics Canada says the economy added a whopping 150,000 jobs nationally.

Job gains were made across sectors, with wholesale and retail trade experiencing the largest gains to employment.

Despite the increase in Alberta’s unemployment rate, it was one of the provinces that saw the largest employment increases.

Employment rose by 21,000 (+0.9).

“Because growth in the number of people searching for work in the province grew at a faster rate than total employment, Alberta’s unemployment rate in January rose,”explained Rob Roach from ATB Economics in a statement.On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province increased by 99,000 (+4.3%), nearly all in full-time work.

“The bulk of the year-over-year employment gains were in professional, scientific and technical services (+54,000 or + 27.3%), while employment fell in natural resources (-15,000; -10.1%),” said Statistics Canada in the survey. 

In a statement released Friday, Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development Brian Jean said Alberta’s economy is “raising the bar” for job creation.

“January’s numbers continue to demonstrate Alberta’s strong economic momentum,” he said.

“Alberta continues to attract more skilled workers to help fill vacancies in our diversified economy. Most of this job growth is coming from the private and services-producing sectors, including wholesale and retail trade, and professional, scientific and technical services.

“As our province continues to grow, our government remains committed to keeping Alberta affordable, and has responded to the challenges of rising costs with a targeted inflation relief package that helps the most vulnerable.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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