Labour force data released on Friday by Statistics Canada continues to show distinct differences between Alberta’s two major cities.
Calgary’s employment market continues to struggle while Edmonton is heading in a positive direction.
The federal agency reported that Calgary’s unemployment rate rose to 8.2 per cent in August from 7.9 per cent in July while Edmonton’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.4 per cent from 6.5 per cent.
On a month-over-month basis, Calgary lost 4,300 jobs while Edmonton’s employment numbers spiked by 7,600.
On an annual basis, Calgary employment was down by 14,500 positions while Edmonton’s was up by 26,000.
Across the province, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 per cent. Alberta gained 16,200 jobs on a monthly basis and employment rose by 53,200 from a year ago.
Nationally, following two months of increases, employment fell by 51,600 in August and the unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 6.0 per cent.
On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 171,700.
StatsCan said the Alberta unemployment rate remained the same as more people participated in the labour market and most of the employment growth over the past year has been in full-time work.
“The wacky world of Canadian jobs data stayed that way in August, but there was at least one positive amidst a generally downbeat report that came on the heels of an upbeat July. That positive was in a solid 40,000 rise in full-time work, but that was swamped by a nosedive in part time jobs, leaving overall employment with a surprise loss of 52,000 jobs on the month, and the unemployment rate moving up two ticks to 6.0 per cent,” said Avery Shenfeld, an economist with CIBC Economics, in a commentary note.
“At the industry level, job shedding was notable in construction, factories, wholesale/retail and professional services.”
Robert Kavcic, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the economy has now actually lost 15,000 jobs so far this year. From a year ago, job growth is still running at a decent 0.9 per cent year-over-year clip, but slowing markedly, he said.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.