Calgary

Alberta unemployment rate holds steady at 8.5% but Calgary's climbs to 9.5%

Alberta's unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 8.5 per cent in September, while Calgary's climbed to 9.5 per cent, which is the highest of 33 metropolitan areas studied by Statistics Canada.

Calgary continues to have highest unemployment rate of 33 metropolitan areas studied by Statistics Canada

Thousands of people showed up for a job fair on Aug. 17 put on by the Calgary airport, which is looking to hire people to work at its new international terminal. (Stephanie Wiebe/CBC)

Alberta's unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 8.5 per cent in September, while Calgary's climbed to 9.5 per cent, which is the highest of 33 metropolitan areas studied by Statistics Canada.

"Calgary, without question, has been taking the brunt of this downturn — Calgary and Fort McMurray — for obvious reasons," said Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial.

"Calgary is the centre of a lot of those head office jobs and when oil prices started to fall, a lot of those head office jobs were not needed. So, Calgary continues to see the worst of it."

Alberta, as a whole, added about 13,000 jobs in September, according to Statistics Canada, while the total size of the labour force grew by 18,000.

That edged the unemployment rate up to 8.5 per cent, as compared to 8.4 per cent in August.

But that change doesn't mark a statistically significant difference, according to Statistics Canada, which says the month-to-month change carries a standard error of 0.3 percentage points.

Compared to a year earlier, though, there were 47,000 fewer people employed in Alberta, and the unemployment rate was up 1.9 percentage points.

Unemployment climbs to 9.5% in Calgary

Unemployment in Calgary, specifically, grew in September, according to a breakdown of the Labour Force Survey data by metropolitan area.

For that measure, Statistics Canada takes a three-month rolling average.

Calgary's rate stood at 9.5 per cent in September, up from nine per cent in August.

In Edmonton, by contrast, the rate was 7.7 per cent in September, down from eight per cent in August.

Calgary continued to have the highest unemployment rate of 33 major centres included in the metropolitan-area breakdown.

"Calgary really is suffering through this right now," said Hirsch.

"There's no question 2016 is a tough year for a lot of people."

This interactive graph shows unemployment rates in Calgary and Edmonton over the past 15 years:

With files from Andrew Brown

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