Calgary has the highest unemployment rate in Canada again

Calgary once again has the highest unemployment rate out of 33 metropolitan areas monitored monthly by Statistics Canada.

City's rate of 7.6% in February is the highest among 33 metropolitan areas studied by StatsCan

Calgary's Saddledome, with the downtown skyline behind it, seen on a winter night. (Robson Fletcher)

Calgary once again has the highest unemployment rate out of 33 metropolitan areas monitored monthly by Statistics Canada.

The city's rate climbed to 7.6 per cent in February, up 0.3 percentage points from the month before, according to new employment numbers released Friday.

That put Calgary ahead of St. John's, Nfld., where the unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 7.4 per cent.

Edmonton was next, with the third-highest rate among Canadian cities, at seven per cent.

Here's how the unemployment rate has changed in those three cities over the past decade:

Calgary's unemployment rate was among the lowest in Canada until late 2014, when oil prices crashed.

The rate then climbed sharply, growing from 4.5 per cent in December 2014 to a high of 10.3 per cent in December 2016.

Calgary had the highest unemployment rate among Canadian cities for most of the latter half of 2016 and the first half of 2017.

Statistics Canada calculates unemployment rates for cities based on a three-month rolling average and releases updated numbers monthly.

In general, the national agency cautions against drawing conclusions from a single month's worth of employment data and says longer-term trends tend to be more meaningful when trying to understand what's happening in the economy.

Jobs flat in Alberta, up nationally

Across the province, Statistics Canada recorded an increase of 3,800 jobs in February, well within the margin of error for its monthly Labour Force Survey.

In essence, the agency said employment in Alberta "was virtually unchanged from the previous month and on a year-over-year basis."

"The number of people searching for work increased in February, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 7.3 per cent," Statistics Canada added, in a release.

Across Canada, an increase of 56,000 jobs was recorded in February, which far surpassed many analysts' expectations.

The national jobless rate was flat at 5.8 per cent, however, because more people were looking for work.

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