Alberta loses jobs in April but still leads rest of Canada
Alberta lost 2,900 jobs from March to April, but year-over-year employment still up
The latest job report from Statistics Canada suggests Alberta had a disappointing month in April but remains one of the strongest players in the Canadian labour market.
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Alberta lost 2,900 jobs from March to April, marking the second straight month of job losses in the province. However, some say that isn't necessarily a reason to worry.
Statistics Canada didn't break down job losses in Calgary and Edmonton, but both cities publish their own data.
"Considering where we've come from over the past two years, it's really just a drop in the bucket," said Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO. "If you look at the bigger picture — if you look at where employment is versus a year ago, or where the jobless rate is relevant to the national average — it's still the case that Alberta is basically head and shoulders above the rest of the country and I don't think that's going to change."
Calgary lost 2,500 jobs between February and April, said Kavcic.
Edmonton publishes monthly labour force reports, and officials reported in March the city had gained roughly 6,000 new positions with employment in the city increasing every month over last year.
Calgary's unemployment rate is also estimated to have increased to five per cent from 4.5 per cent in February.
In Edmonton, the unemployment rate fell from 5.1 per cent in February to 4.8 per cent in March.
Easter may have 'distorted' numbers
One of the factors possibly behind Alberta's job losses in March could be that research was carried out over the Easter weekend.
Given the adjusted hours most people worked during that time, Kavcic says it's possible the results could be distorted but there's no way to tell exactly what the extent of that distortion could be.
As well, Alberta's job losses are not broken down between full-time and part-time employment.
Alberta had 23,000 full-time job losses, but many of those were offset by roughly 20,000 part-time job gains.
While Kavcic says those aren't the strongest results, he stressed it's important to look at the bigger picture when it comes to analyzing Alberta's job situation.
The province has been almost consistently creating full-time jobs over the past year but there has also been a recent increase in the number of part-time jobs being created.
"You have to take it with a grain of salt, especially with this survey," said Kavcic. "To get a better picture of what's going on across the provinces probably look at where employment is versus a year ago, and employment in Alberta is up 3.3 per cent. Nobody else is really close to that."