Employment picture looks better for Albertans

But behind these numbers are real Albertans who are struggling to find work, says ATB

The employment picture was looking rosy for Alberta in April, according to the latest data by Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reports that the Calgary census metropolitan area saw employment increase by 12,200 jobs month-over-month and by 27,000 year-over-year while the unemployment rate fell to 7.6 per cent from 7.7 per cent in March.

In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, month-over-month recorded a 400 increase in jobs but 33,300 more year-over-year as the unemployment rate fell to 6.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent.

Across Alberta, the total number of jobs in the province increased by 21,400 in April. On an annual basis, the increase was 26,600. The province’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 per cent from 6.9 per cent.

“Alberta’s unemployment rate has been above the national average for 41 consecutive months (including two months in late 2015 and early 2016 when it was equal to the national rate). Prior to this, Alberta’s unemployment was below the national level for 315 months in a row, from September 1989 through November 2015,” said ATB Financial’s economics and research team in The Owl, its daily economic update.

“Behind these numbers are real Albertans who are struggling to find work. With sluggish economic growth in the forecast, Alberta’s unemployment rate is unlikely to see much improvement in 2019. So, while April’s increase in jobs is a welcome development, job seekers in Alberta are still facing a relatively cruel labour market.”

In Canada, employment rose by 107,000 in April while the unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 per cent as more people participated in the labour market. On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 426,000.

Robert Kavcic
Robert Kavcic

“There’s no way for even the staunchest bears to spin it – this is as good of a jobs report as you can get. But, here is where we’d insert the usual disclaimer to not get too hopped up on any particular LFS (Labour Force Survey) report. That said, it’s encouraging that the massive labour force inflows in Canada seem to be getting absorbed well into the job market. And, even though real GDP growth was weak again in Q1, recent job trends suggest that the broader economy is not falling off a cliff, and that the weakness should prove transitory, as we and the BoC (Bank of Canada) expect,” said Robert Kavcic, senior economist and director of economic research with BMO Capital Markets, in a commentary note.

– Mario Toneguzzi


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