Calgary

Alberta unemployment falls to 8.5% as Calgary rate remains highest among major cities

Alberta's unemployment rate fell to 8.5 per cent in December as the province gained thousands of full-time jobs.

Province gained 18,500 full-time jobs in December while part-time employment was down by 11,600, StatsCan says

Commuters make their way to and from work on snowy Calgary roads. The city's unemployment rate in December stood at 10.2%, the highest among all major cities Statistics Canada surveys. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Alberta's unemployment rate fell to 8.5 per cent in December as the province gained thousands of full-time jobs.

That's down from a peak of nine per cent in November, which was the highest unemployment rate Alberta had seen in 22 years.

The latest data from Statistics Canada, released Friday, shows an increase of 18,500 full-time jobs in December compared to the previous month.

Part-time employment, over the same time, was down by 11,600 jobs, although that was within the margin of error of the Labour Force Survey.

In Calgary, specifically, unemployment remained the highest of any major city in the country at 10.2 per cent.

That's down from 10.3 per cent in November, but the city-specific measurements are a based on a three-month rolling average.

In Edmonton, the unemployment rate rose to 7.4 per cent, up from 6.8 per cent the month before.

Here's what 2016 looked like, month by month, for total employment and the unemployment rate in Alberta:

Nationwide, Canada added 54,000 jobs in December, according to Statistics Canada.

The national economy saw a gain of 81,000 full-time jobs during the month, offset by a loss of 27,000 part-time positions.

The results were a positive surprise to economists, who had been expecting a slight loss of jobs during the month.

But, because more people were looking for work, Canada's unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

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