Alberta's recent spike in self-employment figures is a good sign that the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive in this economy, according to a Calgary-based economist.

The province saw a 4.5 per cent jump last month in the number of self-employed people, according to the latest Labour Force Survey—the largest monthly increase since December 2010. 

"It's an indicator that suggests at least some Albertans are finding entrepreneurial opportunities, whereas if self employment positions were down and employee positions were down, that's the worst case scenario," said Rob Roach with ATB Financial. 

Number of self-employed Albertans 2015

The December jump represents an increase of 4.5 per cent, the largest monthly bump since December 2010. (Statistics Canada)

In contrast, Alberta shed about 2,700 employee positions in December, a drop of 1.1 per cent from the month previous.

"It doesn't solve the problem, but it is a sign that at least there is some optimism out there and entrepreneurialism hasn't been completely squashed," Roach said.

The total number of self-employed Albertans was 383,800 in December, representing roughly 17 per cent of all workers in the province. 

The Labour Force Survey does not track reasons people become self-employed or their earnings, and Roach was unable to comment on the quality of these new positions or whether they are replacing jobs lost in layoffs.