Edmonton bucked the provincial trend in November by gaining 6,900 jobs, according to information released Friday by Statistics Canada.
Alberta lost nearly 15,000 jobs last month as the oil-related slump continued to take a toll. Calgary and Fort McMurray took the biggest hit, with Calgary posting 6,000 fewer jobs.
- 66K jobs lost in Alberta since last November, StatsCan reports
- Canada sheds 35,700 jobs in November, unemployment rate up to 7.1%
John Rose, chief economist with the City of Edmonton, said Edmonton's numbers are not a blip, but part of an on-going trend.
"We've now had seven months in a row of employment growth," Rose said. "With weakening throughout the province, particularly in the energy sector, one would have expected, even if we continued to see job growth, it would be much more choppy month to month."
Rose said there have been job losses in select sectors of the economy particularly in jobs related directly to the energy sector, but also in areas such as manufacturing logistics, and professional services including car mechanics, realtors and hair stylists.
Gains were seen in areas like education, healthcare and retail, he said.
However, Rose admitted the new jobs may not pay as much as ones that were lost.
"Obviously when you lose jobs in the energy sector, which is the highest-paid sector in the Alberta economy, inevitably those are replaced by jobs with lower wages and salaries." he said.
Going forward, Rose said there's been a tendency towards part-time employment in the last two months, something he described as "worrisome."
"If we continue to see a trend to part-time employment, that could have negative implications for the consumer side of the economy." Rose said. People who work part-time have less money to spend and don't make big purchases such as a house or a new vehicle, he said.
Edmonton continues to do well nationally, with employment growing almost five times the national average, generating almost a quarter of the net new jobs in Canada over the past year.
Rose attributes this to a relatively diverse economy as well as population growth, which is driving construction activity.
The big question, he said, is if this trend will hold.
"As we move into the second half of 2016, and many of the projects that are underway right now in Edmonton begin to wrap up, where's the momentum going to come from in the latter half of 2016, and beginning of 2017 to sustain these growth rates?, Rose said.
"If we don't see some kind of recovery in oil prices, and I mean significant recovery in oil prices, we could see a much softer employment picture towards the end of 2016."
Job losses across Alberta pushed the unemployement rate up 4/10ths of a percentage point to 7.0 per cent for November.
This is the biggest decline in employment among the provinces and leaves Alberta's unemployment rate at a five-year high