Alberta unemployment dips to 7.1% as 19,000 new jobs created

The Alberta unemployment rate dropped in March to match the national number of 7.1 per cent, but Edmonton and Calgary are seeing few of those net new jobs.

Different story in Calgary and Edmonton, where joblessness continues to rise

In Calgary, unemployment is substantially above the provincial and national averages. (Canadian Press)

Alberta's unemployment rate dropped in March, according to Statistics Canada, but Calgary and Edmonton didn't fare as well as the rest of the province.

Total employment grew by 19,000 jobs, including 14,500 full-time jobs, pushing the province's unemployment rate to 7.1 per cent, down from 7.9 per cent in February.

After edging above the national rate in early 2016 — for the first time in nearly 30 years — Alberta's level of unemployment now matches the Canada-wide average.

The employment growth was driven largely by increases in the retail and wholesale trade sectors. The numbers paint a different picture in the province's biggest cities, however.

Calgary's unemployment rate edged up 0.2 percentage points to 8.6 per cent, while Edmonton's was up 0.1 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

The city-specific rates are measured by StatsCan as a three-month rolling average.

Despite the employment increase across Alberta, the total number of hours worked decreased by 0.7 per cent in March, continuing a downward trend that began in early 2015.


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