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Slow but steady improvements in the job market

Slow but steady improvements in the job market

Posted on: 4/6/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​It may not be the bonanza of new jobs that a lot of Albertans had become used to in the first half of the decade, but the employment situation in our province continues to improve gradually.

A net 8,300 jobs were added in March, following a more modest increase of 2,300 in February. However, all of the jobs added last month were part-time. The unemployment rate provincially dropped to 6.3 per cent--the lowest since the summer of 2015. Much of that decrease was due to a drop in the overall labour force (that is, fewer people were looking for work).

The longer-term view is always the more appropriate one, and in this respect the news is positive. Over the last 12 months, Alberta created 46,400 full-time jobs, an increase of 2.5 per cent. New job creation has been strongest in manufacturing (+15,000), oil and gas (+14,200) and business support services (+5,500).

Jobs in the government sector have not been a major contributor (+3,600), and two sectors which had previously seen the strongest gains during the recession--health care and education--have been essentially flat over the last year.

Calgary’s unemployment rate popped back to 8.2 per cent in March, up three-tenths of a percentage point from February. There was some slight decline in total jobs (-1,600), but also an increase in the labour force (+1,300), suggesting that either previously discouraged job seekers are back looking for work, or people are moving to the city.

Jobs, graph

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