Albertas unemployment rate climbs above national average

STOCK PHOTO/FREEIMAGES.COM It’s a situation Alberta hasn’t faced since Rain Man and Working Girl were in theatres.The unemployment rate in the province is above the national average for the first time since December 1988 – sitting at 7.4 per cent.The rate for all of Canada is 7.2 per cent.Alberta lost 10,000 jobs in January, and 35,000 in the last year.Calgary was hit especially hard last month; the unemployment rate rocketed up from 7 per cent to 7.7 per cent.“It is discouraging of course; month after month these job reports, they just continue to get worse,” ATB’s Chief Economist Todd Hirsch said.Hirsch said January’s job picture isn’t surprising, but it is a hit to Alberta’s pride.“We’re used to being the engine of growth, and this is where the jobs are, and people have moved here — tens of thousands of people have moved here over the years,” he said, adding we’re now seeing a reversal, with workers migrating out of the province. “At least in the first half of the year, from Alberta to other parts of the country, particularly to British Columbia, which continues to do pretty well.”Hirsch is also expecting the unemployment rate to reach at least eight per cent in 2016.“I do expect after the spring break-up, a lot of those work crews just won’t be called back, so I do think we will see continued rounds of layoffs, particularly in the petroleum sector,” he said. “I do actually think the situation could get worse before it stabilizes and gets better, perhaps towards the second half of the year.”As for Calgary’s big jump, Hirsch says it’s typical for big fluctuations in job numbers month to month at the city level, so looking longer trends is better to get an idea to get the full picture. Alberta’s unemployment rate climbs above national average by Kaitlin Lee, News Staff Posted Feb 5, 2016 7:43 am MDT Last Updated Feb 5, 2016 at 10:10 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email