April 5, 2013 6:56 pm
Updated: April 5, 2013 10:54 pm

Alberta jobs take big hit, but experts remain optimistic

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CALGARY- Alberta has been dealt some of the worst news on the job front to hit since the recession.

New numbers from Statistics Canada show employment in the province dropped by 11,000 jobs last month, the first major decline in more than two years. The unemployment rate increased to 4.8 per cent, which is still one of the lowest in the country.

Experts say most of the decline was likely in the oil and gas industry.

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“Generally speaking, natural gas conventional oil is a seasonal industry, and we are going to spring breakup right now,” explains Cheryl Knight, executive director of Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada. “As weather warms and ground warms, the industry is less active and seasonal workers are laid off.”

That means employment numbers might sound worse than they really are, which a worker who moved to Alberta from northern Ontario agrees with.

“I am absolutely glad I did it,” Jordan Montgomery says, of his decision to head west. “It changed my life. If I had to go it again I definitely would. It was a great decision.”

Across the country, employment declined by 55,000 in March, all in full-time positions. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.2 per cent, nationwide.

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