Alberta’s jobless rate continued decline in March, now 9.1%

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Alberta’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend last month, falling 0.8 percentage points to 9.1 per cent.

According to Statistics Canada’s March 2021 Labour Force Survey, only Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick had higher provincial unemployment numbers than Alberta, sitting at 12.4 and 9.2 per cent respectively.

The Labour Force Survey, released on Friday, reflects labour market conditions the week of March 14 to 20, shortly after Jason Kenney’s UCP government announced the province would be transitioning to Step 2 of its “path forward” plan, which included eased restrictions for indoor fitness facilities and for libraries.

The government then announced on Tuesday it was rolling back to Step 1 as COVID-19 case numbers in Alberta climb and variants of concern continue to spread.

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Nationally, Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 per cent in March from 8.2 per cent the month prior.

According to Statistics Canada, the nation added 303,000 jobs in March, an increase which put employment 296,000 shy of pre-COVID levels seen in February 2020.

“Employment gains in March were spread across most provinces, with the largest increases in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec,” the labour force survey said.

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“Much of the employment increase reflected continued recovery in industries—including retail trade and accommodation and food services—where employment had fallen in January in response to public health restrictions.”

Edmonton and Calgary see unemployment rise

In Calgary, unemployment dipped six-tenths of a percentage point in March to sit at 10.0 per cent compared to 10.6 per cent in February.

Though Edmonton’s jobless rate also dropped slightly, it remained one of the highest in the nation.

In March, Edmonton’s unemployment rate sat at 11.2 per cent compared to 11.6 per cent the month previously.

Click to play video: 'Alberta struggles with Canada’s second highest unemployment rate'
Alberta struggles with Canada’s second highest unemployment rate

Of the 34 metropolitan areas surveyed, only St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont., recorded higher unemployment in March 2021 than Edmonton (12.2 per cent).

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A look at Calgary and Edmonton’s unemployment rates amid COVID-19

April 2020

↑ Calgary: 10.8 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 10.0 per cent

May 2020

↑ Calgary: 13.4 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 13.6 per cent

June 2020

↑ Calgary: 15.6 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 15.7 per cent

July 2020

↓ Calgary: 15.5 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 15.0 per cent

August 2020

↓ Calgary: 14.4 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 13.6 per cent

September 2020

↓ Calgary: 12.6 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 12.6 per cent

October 2020

↓ Calgary: 11.3 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 12.0 per cent

November 2020

↓ Calgary: 10.7 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 11.3 per cent

December 2020

↓ Calgary: 10.5 per cent
↓ Edmonton: 11.4 per cent

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January 2021

↑ Calgary: 10.6 per cent
↑ Edmonton: 11.9 per cent

February 2021

Calgary: 10.6 per cent
Edmonton: 11.6 per cent

March 2021

↓ Calgary:  10.0 per cent
↓  Edmonton: 11.2 per cent

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