EDMONTON- New figures released by Statistics Canada reveal it’s not all doom and gloom for workers in Alberta’s capital despite the ongoing slump in oil prices.
The data show Edmonton gained 1,700 new jobs in December and overall, the Capital Region added about 28,000 new jobs over the course of 2015. An analysis of the data from the City of Edmonton found that the December job gains were predominantly in manufacturing, health care and perhaps surprisingly, the energy sector.
The numbers stood out from Alberta as a whole where employment declined for the third straight month in December, shedding nearly 4,000 jobs.
Twenty-three thousand full-time jobs were lost in Alberta in December, which was partially off-set by the creation of 19,000 part-time jobs.
Over the course of 2015, Alberta job losses were concentrated in the energy, construction and manufacturing sectors.
The latest numbers also suggest Edmonton employers have a healthy pool of workers to draw on; the Capital Region’s working-age population rose 2.3 per cent from December 2014 to December 2015. The city’s analysis suggested the growth in the number of job seekers will slow wage increases by addressing skilled labour shortages that were already becoming apparent before the crash in oil prices.
Edmonton’s unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in December, up 0.1 per cent from the previous month. Calgary’s unemplyment rate in December sat at seven per cent.
Overall, the Canadian economy produced a net gain of about 22,800 jobs in December and that growth was driven primarily by Ontario which added an impressive 34,800 new positions.
“You’re seeing migration flows pretty much stall to cities like Calgary, and population growth picking up in places like Toronto and Vancouver,” Robert Kavcic, an economist at Bank of Montreal, said. “What you’re seeing is people moving back from Alberta to B.C. now.”
In the city report, Edmonton’s chief economist, John Rose, wrote he believed the unemployment rate will rise slightly in the short-term, but if if oil prices rebound, the unemployment figures could stabilize before the end of 2016.
-with files from Jamie Sturgeon, Global News
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