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For first time, more than 1 million people now working — or looking for work — in Calgary

Calgary’s labour force has surpassed one million people for the first time on record, according to new data released Friday by Statistics Canada.

At the same time, the city’s unemployment rate surged to 7.7 per cent in April, largely due to an increase in the number of people looking for work.

The estimated number of people working in the Calgary metropolitan area grew slightly last month to 935,300.

The city has seen employment gains every month so far in 2024, but the job spurt has been outpaced by population growth.

The estimated number of working-age people in Calgary and the surrounding area surpassed 1.4 million in April, according to Statistics Canada.

Of those, an estimated 1,013,300 were in the labour force.

The estimated number of people looking for work grew sharply to 77,900 in April.

That’s up from 64,500 unemployed people in March.

The province, as a whole, saw similar trends.

“While employment in Alberta was little changed in April, there were more people searching for work, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.7 percentage points to 7.0 per cent,” Statistics Canada said in a release.

Alberta, in general, and Calgary, specifically, have seen rapid population growth recently, driven mainly by international and interprovincial migration.

The Statistics Canada data suggests many of the recent newcomers are entering into the labour force.

Calgary’s labour-force participation rate (defined as the percentage of civilian, non-institutionalized people at least 15 years old who are either working or looking for work) grew to 72.2 per cent in April, up a full percentage point from March.

The city now has the second-highest participation rate of the 35 metropolitan areas tracked by Statistics Canada.

At the same time, Calgary also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Its April mark of 7.7 per cent  was up 1.2 percentage points from March and ties it with Toronto.

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