The labour markets in Calgary and Edmonton appeared headed in opposite directions in July.
According to data released on Friday by Statistics Canada, Calgary saw job losses and an increased unemployment rate for the month while Edmonton experienced more employment and job creation.
For the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 per cent from 7.7 per cent in June. Employment fell by 9,300 positions. On an annual basis, employment was down by 10,200 overall.
In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 per cent from 6.6 per cent the previous month. And employment rose by 7,700 positions month over month and by 20,400 year over year.
“In Alberta, employment held steady as a decrease in full-time work was largely offset by an increase in the number of people working part time,” said the federal agency.
The unemployment rate was little changed at 6.7 per cent, up from 6.5 per cent in June. The province lost 3,600 jobs month over month but employment was still up 39,600 year over year.
Across Canada, StatsCan said employment rose by 54,000 in July, driven by gains in part-time work. The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent.
“In the 12 months to July, employment grew by 246,000 (+1.3 per cent). These gains were largely the result of growth in full-time work (+211,000 or +1.4 per cent). Over this period, the total number of hours worked rose by 1.3 per cent,” added the federal agency.
Brian DePratto, senior economist with TD Economics, said the national numbers showed signs of a healthy economy as the number of unemployed fell and more Canadians were drawn to the labour force.
“We’re still a ways away from the next Bank of Canada rate decision, but with this first glimpse of third quarter activity kicking things off more or less on the right foot, the conditions remain right for further rate increases … it looks like we’re set to see another quarter-point hike this October,” he said.
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.