Watch above: Edmonton is leading the country in job growth. Last year, 40 per cent of all new jobs created in Canada were generated here. Kent Morrison reports.
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Capital City continues to be Canada’s employment powerhouse. There are more jobs being created here than any other Canadian city.
The City of Edmonton’s chief economist says 80 per cent of new net jobs in Canada in the last year came from Alberta.
“Over the past 12 months, Alberta has generated more new jobs than any other province in Canada and that includes Ontario, which is five times as large as we are,” said John Rose.
“Approximately 40 per cent – depending on what period of time you’re looking at – of net new jobs in Canada were generated here in the Edmonton region,” he added.
“We’ve seen phenomenal employment growth in Edmonton and in Alberta in general.”
Edmonton City Councillor Michael Oshry shared the impressive statistic Wednesday on Twitter.
— Michael Oshry (@michaeloshry) September 11, 2014
In addition to employment growth, Rose says Edmonton has also seen “stupendous net migration.”
He says the growing population is helping to fill many of those jobs, which is fortunate.
“We’ve had lots of people moving into the region, but they don’t necessarily have the skills and experience to address the needs we have in areas like construction, in areas like manufacturing, in professional services like engineering and finance. So, we’re faced with a challenge here.
“It’s not so much the raw numbers of people; it’s getting the right people.”
The many job opportunities are certainly attractive for those looking for work.
“It’s crazy, I could go do labour, I could do sales, I could have an office job, the options are all there,” said Owais Mirza, an Edmontonian who attended the job fair at Millbourne Mall Thursday. “Everytime I was in a position where I needed to find a job, it didn’t take me long to find one.”
“Jobs are open, they’re available… it’s pretty awesome.”
The average weekly salary for a worker in Edmonton is $1,060, says Rose.
“That’s part-time, full-time, unskilled, skilled… So the average Joe here is earning close to $60,000 a year.”
He says Calgary is the only place that has similar numbers.
“I’m not aware of any other jurisdiction in Canada that comes anywhere close.”
Rose adds the many construction projects in Edmonton are creating employment opportunities, but are also creating challenges.
“We’re going to see real changes and real pressures on cost in the construction sector from materials and from labour as we move forward with these major projects.”
He wants to see the provincial government take action.
“The number one issue for Alberta government in terms of addressing growth going forward: we need to make sure young people are being trained and getting appropriate skills.”
While Edmonton’s unemployment rate sits at a low 5.6 per cent, certain sectors have significantly lower rates.
“When you look at individual industries like construction, like manufacturing, like transportation and logistics, like professional services, the unemployment rate in those sectors is down to three per cent. Once you get below five per cent you start to see shortages. Down to a three per cent you’ve got systemic problems.”