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Unemployment rates for women trending lower

Unemployment rates for women trending lower

Posted on: 10/16/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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One indicator of the gradually improving economy in Alberta has been the job market. Finding good quality employment is often a challenge, but for women, there are signs it is improving.

The unemployment rate for women in Alberta was 6.3 in September, down from 8.1 per cent a little more than a year ago. At the same time, the participation rate (i.e., the number of women over the age of 15 who are working or looking for work) has remained consistent. That suggests women are finding jobs, not dropping out of the job market.

During the recession, Alberta’s female unemployment rate rose well above the Canadian rate. At the worst of the situation, Alberta’s rate was over two percentage points higher than the national rate. More recently, however, the gap has narrowed. Last month the gap in joblessness between women in Alberta and those elsewhere in the country was less than one percentage point (0.7).

Women are present in every sector of the economy, including those such as oil and gas, manufacturing and construction that were hit hard by the recession. Some of those jobs have been slow to return—and that’s what’s preventing the unemployment rate from coming down more quickly.

However, women are also well-represented in other sectors of the economy where jobs were hit less severely. Employment in healthcare and social services, education and public administration has been relatively stable over the last five years. That helped prevent the female unemployment rate in Alberta from rising any higher than it did during the recession.

Female unemployment, graph​ ​​

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