July 22nd, 2024

Local unemployment rate continues to decline

By Mo Cranker on August 5, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

Unemployment continues to drop in Southern Alberta, with the rate in the local region now sitting firmly at pre-recession levels.

Statistics Canada said Friday that the jobless rate in Medicine Hat sat at 4.1 per cent — its lowest level in two-years and nearly half of what it was during the height of the slowdown in the oilpatch.

This month’s rate moved down 0.7 per cent from June and is 3.5 percentage points lower than what it was in July 2016.

At that time unemployment was at a two-year high of 7.6 per cent.

The measure briefly sat at 4 per cent in early 2015, just as the oil price collapse was being felt across Alberta.

The provincial unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent for July, according to Friday’s statitistics, which also provided good news for the Canadian Economy as a whole.

The Canadian Press reported that the national decline and current rate of 6.3 per cent is a level not seen since October 2008 — a date when Canada was in the beginning throes of the global credit crisis.

The Saskatchewan rate rose to 6.6 per cent.

Across Alberta, joblessness declined in every region but Edmonton in July. There, it grew by 1 per cent to 8.8 per cent year-to-year, while Calgary’s fell by half a percentage point to 8.3 per cent.

The difference in the major centres was the largest factor in moving the overall provincial rate.

At 7.8 per cent, it rose by 0.4 per cent when compared to June, but is 0.8 per cent lower than one year ago.

Economists prefer year-to-year comparisons as it better accounts for seasonal variations.

Unemployment also fell steeply to 5.8 per cent in both Red Deer (down from 10 per cent last summer) and Grande Prairie (7.8 in July 2016).

Other regions were Camrose-Drumheller at 7.1 per cent and Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake 7.4 per cent.

The national decrease came as the economy pumped out 10,900 net new jobs for the month. That followed staggering employment growth of 45,300 in June and 54,500 in May.

“We can forgive the economy for taking a bit of a breather on job gains in July, given how torrid the pace has been in the prior two months,” Avery Shenfeld, chief economist of CIBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

The July data was fuelled by the addition of 35,100 full-time jobs, offset by the loss of 24,300 part-time positions.
— With files from the Canadian Press

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