Alberta's retail sector job losses an omen of deeper economic downturn, says economist

Many of the14,000 jobs lost in Alberta in February were in the retail sector which leaves one Calgary economist feeling pessimistic about what's to come.

Province's unemployment rate highest since September 2011

Many of the 14,000 jobs lost in Alberta in February were in the retail sector which leaves one Calgary economist pessimistic about what's to come. 

​Statistics Canada released the figures on Friday.

Allan Dwyer, a professor of finance at Mount Royal University, says big job losses in the retail industry are an omen for other industries. 

"Retail is somewhat of a canary in the coal mine for other sectors.”

Dwyer says he isn’t optimistic about Alberta’s economy and expects further job losses, which will trickle down into part-time work for summer students.

The province's unemployment rate is now 5.3 per cent, the highest it has been since September 2011. Meanwhile, oil closed down $2 a barrel today at $44.84.

In addition to retail, other notable job losses were in wholesale trade, manufacturing, natural resources and professional, scientific and technical services, Statistics Canada says.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 6.8 per cent as more people searched for work. 


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