When it came to creating jobs in 2019, the Calgary economic region was clearly the leader in Alberta.
Data put together by ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team found that the Calgary region saw the largest increase in employment last year as it added 26,500 jobs for an annual hike of three per cent.
The only other region in positive territory was Edmonton with an increase of 0.7 per cent or 5,500 jobs, said ATB.
Those two cities drove provincial employment to be up by 0.5 per cent in 2019 from 2018 levels.
“The Camrose-Drumheller region was hit the hardest. Its employment level contracted by 8.4 per cent for a loss of 8,600 jobs. The Red Deer region was not far behind, with employment falling by 6.2 per cent for a loss of 7,400 positions,” said ATB in its daily economic update The Owl.
“Last year’s job growth in Calgary and Edmonton was a positive development, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Both Calgary (7.1 per cent) and Edmonton (7.3 per cent) posted higher unemployment rates than the other five regions where the rate ranged from 5.5 per cent in the Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River region to 6.7 per cent in the Red Deer area.
“The reason for this discrepancy is that a relatively large number of job seekers from areas outside Calgary and Edmonton either left the area (possibly hoping to find work in one of the two big cities) or stopped looking for work altogether. This helped keep the unemployment rate in these areas from growing to the levels seen in Calgary and Edmonton.”
ATB said Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake saw a decrease in employment of 0.6 per cent while employment was down 0.8 per cent in Lethbridge-Medicine Hat and it was down 1.1 per cent in the Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grand Prairie-Peace River economic region.
Mario Toneguzzi is a business reporter in Calgary.
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