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Job numbers disappoint to start the new year

Job numbers disappoint to start the new year

Posted on: 2/8/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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For many, Alberta’s labour market recovery has been frustratingly slow. The start of 2019 likely compounded that sentiment.

According to the latest jobs report, the province lost about 15,500 positions in January. (This figure is adjusted to take into account regular seasonality in the job market.) Most of the jobs lost during the month of January were full-time positions (-14,600). The number of part-time jobs decreased by 900.

Alberta’s unemployment rate rose in January, too. The provincial unemployment rate in Alberta was 6.8 per cent in January, up from 6.4 per cent in December and slightly higher than last year’s average.

The rise in the provincial unemployment rate to start the year has more to do with lost positions and not the fact that more people were looking for work. In fact, the participation rate (i.e., the number of Albertans over the age of 15 who are working or looking for work) fell to the lowest point in six months in January. That suggests some Albertans are frustrated and beginning to drop out of the job market.

The job situation should get better over the second half of the year. However, it’s likely the pace of labour market improvement will continue to disappoint job-seekers in 2019.

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