The Edmonton area gained 4,000 full-time jobs in September while employment in Alberta declined by nearly 8,000 positions, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
Job gains in the Edmonton census metropolitan area were in sectors such as construction, health care and energy, more than offsetting losses in professional services and public administration, the City of Edmonton reported in its analysis of the latest labour force survey numbers.
The gains brought Edmonton's unemployment rate to 8.5 per cent in September, down from 8.7 per cent in August, even as the working-age population and the active labour force continued to expand, the city said.
The unemployment rate for Calgary remained unchanged in September at 8.5 per cent.
Alberta lost 7,800 jobs, with a marginal increase in full-time employment completely offset by a significant decline in part-time jobs.
But with fewer people seeking work across the province, Alberta's unemployment rate fell from 8.1 per cent in August to 7.9 per cent in September.
"The Edmonton region's job losses during 2016 in the goods-producing sector demonstrated that the region was not immune to the impact of decreased oil prices," the city's chief economist, John Rose, said in his report.
"Nonetheless, gains in the Edmonton region's full-time employment since January 2017 suggest employers are now more confident about adding to their workforce."
Jobless rate to hold steady, Rose says
Rose said that during the final three months of 2017, Edmonton should see job growth in the manufacturing, professional services and logistics sectors.
But the unemployment rate is unlikely to move much lower than 8.5 per cent, he said.
That's because the local labour force will continue to expand and people who had been discouraged by difficult employment conditions in the second half of 2016 will continue to return to the active labour force.
The Edmonton census metropolitan area includes Edmonton, Strathcona County, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Parkland County, Leduc, Fort Saskatchewan, Beaumont, Stony Plain, Morinville, Devon and other communities.