More Edmontonians found work in May, continuing a 2017 trend on the job front.
City of Edmonton economist John Rose said the kind of work they’re landing is encouraging. Employment is up by 3,700 in the Edmonton region, and the unemployment rate down to 7.9 per cent from 8.1 per cent.
“Very, very strong gains in full time employment, and these gains are in high wage sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, professional services and financial services.
“So what you’re seeing is the Edmonton economy beginning to turn the corner and start to move forward.”
Activity in the energy sector has been picking up this year, Rose said that’s a major driving force behind the change.
“Maintenance, repair work beginning to pick up. Some of the investment projects that had been pushed off are now being restarted. So it’s not any kind of mega-project, one particular thing out there, it’s a broad based recovery.”
It’s part of a larger national picture as the Statistics Canada’s labour force numbers show the economy added 54,500 jobs in May, as full-time employment surged. The national unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent. For Alberta, there were modest gains with the employment rate dropping marginally from 7.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent. Calgary remained steady at 9.3 per cent.
“We’re seeing the unemployment rate moving in the right direction,” Rose said of the trend that started in January.
“A very good indicator for future growth of the economy is full time jobs. They encourage people to make those big decisions about purchasing a house, buying a new car, making other large consumer expenditures.”
The only fly in the ointment, as Rose put it, is we’re not seeing a significant number of people moving here, looking for work.
“People are not going to be moving from other parts of Canada into Edmonton or Alberta. But, none the less, we continue to see very strong international migration into Edmonton and Calgary as well.
“So our labour force is going to continue to grow, but the growth rate in the labour force, and in the population as a whole, is going to be much slower in 2017 and into 2018.”
While growth continued in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec saw the biggest job gains last month.