Alberta’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend last month, dropping 0.8 percentage points to 9.9 per cent, the lowest it has been since March 2020.
According to Statistics Canada’s February 2021 Labour Force Survey, only Newfoundland and Labrador had higher provincial unemployment numbers than Alberta last month (15.3 per cent).
The Labour Force Survey, released on Friday, reflects labour market conditions the week of Feb. 14 to 20, shortly after Alberta’s UCP government eased COVID-19 health measures allowing for in-person services at restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafés.
Alberta was one of five provinces where employment rebounded in February.
Provincially, employment rose 17,000 (+0.8 per cent). Statistics Canada noted most of the overall employment increase was in accommodation and food services and coincided with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is encouraging to see that 17,000 jobs were created in Alberta last month, which brings our unemployment rate to its lowest level in a year,” Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer said. “This comes after the Conference Board of Canada and BMO projected this week that Alberta will lead Canada in economic growth.”
“It’s not time to pop champagne corks, but this is hopefully the beginning of a bounce-back for Alberta’s economy and job market.”
“There is still more work to be done,” Schweitzer added. “We need to get Albertans vaccinated. We need to keep working to build our economy in new and existing sectors. We need to keep building.”
Nationally, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 per cent, the lowest level since March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and down from the 9.4 per cent recorded in February.
Statists Canada said employment in the accommodation and food services industry rose by 65,000 (+7.8 per cent) nationally, driven primarily by Ontario and Alberta.
Edmonton and Calgary see unemployment rise
In Calgary, unemployment stayed steady at 10.6 per cent in February, the same as it was in January.
Edmonton’s jobless rate, meanwhile, dropped to 11.6 from 11.9 the month before.
Edmonton’s unemployment rate was the fourth-highest in Canada among the 34 metropolitan areas surveyed, behind Barrie, Ont. (13.0), Peterborough, Ont. (12.5) and St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. (12.4 per cent).
A look at Calgary and Edmonton’s unemployment rates amid COVID-19
↑ Calgary: 10.8 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 10.0 per cent
↑ Calgary: 13.4 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 13.6 per cent
↑ Calgary: 15.6 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 15.7 per cent
↓ Calgary: 15.5 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 15.0 per cent
↓ Calgary: 14.4 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 13.6 per cent
↓ Calgary: 12.6 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 12.6 per cent
↓ Calgary: 11.3 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 12.0 per cent
↓ Calgary: 10.7 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 11.3 per cent
↓ Calgary: 10.5 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 11.4 per cent
↑ Calgary: 10.6 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 11.9 per cent
– Calgary: 10.6 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 11.6 per cent