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Employment rebounds modestly in August

Employment rebounds modestly in August

Posted on: 9/8/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

After a nasty drop in July, Alberta’s job market bounced back into positive territory last month by adding a few thousand jobs. Still, the labour situation in the province remains patchy.

According to the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, Alberta gained a mere 2,300 new jobs in August. The good news is that gains in full-time jobs (+7,600) were only partially offset by losses in part-time jobs (-5,400). As well, more Albertans started looking for work—that is, the size of the labour force increased. This pushed the unemployment rate up from 7.8 per cent in July to 8.1 per cent in August.

The trend over the last 12 months continues to show jobs returning to those sectors hardest hit during the recession: transportation and warehousing (+13,800 jobs), manufacturing (+11,200) and natural resources (+8,600). On the other hand, education and health services have lost ground from last summer, and job gains in public administration have been weak (+2,200).

Looking forward, it’s difficult to predict the course of Alberta’s labour market. The overall economy is expanding once again, but employers may be hesitant to add to their payroll. Interest rates and the Canadian dollar are rising, and the global situation remains unclear. The most recent Alberta Economic Outlook from ATB Financial is calling for overall employment gains of 1.3 per cent in 2017, and for the unemployment rate to average 7.9 per cent.

Employment in Alberta, graph

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