Lethbridge Unemployment the lowest in Alberta

LETHBRIDGE- If you are looking for work in Lethbridge, it might be a little harder to find this time of year.

The latest unemployment numbers are out and the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region is the lowest in Alberta at two per cent.

Cheryl Dick, with Economic Development Lethbridge, says November’s drop is nothing new.

“Even going back to 2000, we always have this pattern in November where the labor market tightens up.”

Dick adds that the trend is due to a few different factors specific to this region.

“I think at this time of year so many students take on retail jobs to help fill that Christmas gap.  Agrifood is really booming right now because they have all the harvest in and they are processing everything.”

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The Lethbridge area may have the lowest unemployment rate, but it also has the lowest participation rate in Alberta at 66 per cent – meaning there are a number of residents who aren’t in the work force at all.

Ryan Miller is with Select People Solutions, and says there are a variety of reasons for that.

“Sometimes they are not able to work, they medically are not in a situation to work, sometimes it’s people who are in a position who don’t need to work, you could be stay at home parent, or your spouse could work so you don’t need to work, or you could be retired.”

Miller says the current workforce is relatively balanced and favorable to both employees and employers, but If the unemployment rate drops too low, it benefits the workers.

“We really see a true sign of a labor shortage when we see wages starting to rise consistently and we haven’t seen that yet.  When we see that, we know we are really struggling overall in Lethbridge.”

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