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Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate drops slightly in June

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WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan adds 2,500 new jobs in June as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 per cent – Jul 5, 2019

The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan dropped slightly during June as 2,500 jobs were added to the province’s economy, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

StatCan said the unemployment rate for the month was 5.1 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.

READ MORE: Canada saw slight job losses in June, new labour force survey shows

It is the third lowest unemployment rate in the country, trailing only British Columbia (4.5 per cent) and Quebec (4.9 per cent).

The majority of employment gains in the month were part-time positions – 1,700 – with most employment growth occurring in the accommodation and food service industry, StatCan reported.

The gains come as a surprise to restaurant owner Dale MacKay.

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Speaking in Ayden Kitchen & Bar, one of the four restaurants he owns in Saskatoon and Regina, he said he didn’t know who was doing the hiring.

“If anything, we’re on the cut,” he said.

“I think that most businesses are feeling that in a sense, that they’re tightening all the screws right now to be able to make it through the next few years or at least to be able to find those profits.”

READ MORE: Canadian unemployment falls to 5.4% in May — a 43-year low

Regardless, Alex Fallon, president of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, said hopefully new jobs herald an improved outlook for the province.

“So the fact that there’s been job growth in Saskatchewan … bodes well for the economy and I think points to some stability in our economy,” he said.

“They’re not huge numbers but definitely good that they are positive numbers.”

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Fallon did caution that the numbers are just a monthly snapshot, but said the volume of new jobs was good news. He attributes the rise to tourism linked to sports and entertainment in the summer months as well as population growth.

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“As people move into the province one of the first things they do is seek a new job,” he said, pointing to population growth over the past 13 years.

Employment in the province has grown by 9,300 since June 2018, the agency said.

Nationally, the unemployment rate edged up to 5.5 per cent as the economy shed 2,200 net positions in June.

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