Unemployment rate in Calgary drops slightly in January

Calgary’s unemployment rate decreased in January while Edmonton’s rose by half a per cent, according to numbers released Friday by Statistics Canada.

Rate in Edmonton rose by 0.6%, according to Stats Can

The unemployment rate in Calgary fell slightly in January compared to the month before, sitting at 9.8 per cent. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Calgary's unemployment rate decreased in January while Edmonton's rose by half a per cent compared to the month before, according to numbers released Friday by Statistics Canada.

Calgary's unemployment rate was 9.8 per cent in January, down slightly from 10.1 per cent in December.

In Edmonton, the unemployment rate rose from 7.5 per cent in December 2016 to 8.1 per cent in January.

Calgary's unemployment rate had sat largely unchanged the previous three months. 

The city has probably reached the bottom of the economic downturn, says Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

"I think this is kind of the new normal. So whatever this feels like is probably what we should be getting ready for for the next three, four, five years. But this is something that can still sustain a great city — we can sustain an economy, we can sustain jobs, we can grow companies."

He says the type of jobs available in Calgary has shifted with $100-a-barrel oil in the rear-view mirror.

"The reality is that many of the jobs that were brought on-stream in $100 oil are not coming back, and so we have to get to a point where we see probably more people leaving Alberta to find jobs elsewhere, because those jobs likely aren't going to come back under a $50- or $60-[a-barrel] oil scenario."

Nationally, Canada's unemployment rate dipped to 6.8 per cent last month as the economy added 48,000 jobs.

The numbers blew past economists' expectations of a loss of 10,000 jobs after a strong showing the previous month, too.

Instead, the economy has added almost 100,000 jobs since the end of November.

Most of the new jobs were part time, although there were also more than 15,000 new full-time jobs created across the country. Almost all of the new jobs were in the service sector, Statistics Canada said.

Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador all added jobs, while New Brunswick lost some. All other provinces were largely unchanged.

The loonie reacted strongly to the news, jumping a third of a cent to 76.42 after being flat before the numbers came out.