StatsCan says the Alberta unemployment rate rose from 6.6 to 6.7% but 7,700 jobs were gained in October

Data released by Statistics Canada says the number of jobs in the Calgary census metropolitan area fell by 2,900 in October from September, but they were up 40,500 on an annual basis. The region’s unemployment rate also rose from 7.1 per cent in September to 7.2 per cent in October.

The Edmonton census metropolitan area saw its unemployment rate fall from 7.3 per cent to 7.1 per cent as the region gained 1,500 jobs in October. But year over year, employment is down by 11,200 in the capital region.

Across Alberta, the federal agency reports that the unemployment rate in the province rose from 6.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent but 7,700 jobs were gained in October and employment is up by 20,000 from a year ago.

Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir
Tanya Fir
Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

“Job numbers can fluctuate widely month to month. Nevertheless, today’s latest data from Statistics Canada is encouraging, with 14,400 full-time jobs in October and growth of 20,600 in the private sector. Yet with an inherited fiscal mess from the previous government and challenges from Ottawa, we know there is much more to do to get Alberta back on track,” said Tanya Fir, Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, in a statement.

“Far too many Albertans are still looking for work. Our government will continue to work tirelessly to get Alberta back on track.”

In Canada, the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent as StatsCan reported employment losses of 1,800 from the previous month but overall employment is still up 442,500 from a year ago.

Can’t win them all. After a few months of strong labour market performance, October brought a decidedly ho-hum report. There were more than a few blemishes . . .  from another drop-off in private employment, to the fact that the already-soft headline was flattered by election-related activity, or a trend in hours worked that could charitably be called disappointing,” wrote Brian DePratto, a senior economist with TD Economics, in a commentary.

Employment is still up nicely on a year-year basis, and the gangbuster pace of gains early in the year was never sustainable. Strong wage gains alongside high vacancy rates are indications of labour market tightness, suggesting a more modest trend in net hiring going forward.

“The Bank of Canada indicated at its last rate decision that it would be looking for signs of the global slowdown spilling into consumer spending and housing activity here. There has certainly been a bit of a disconnect between the labour market and consumer spending of late, but with wages up strongly and trend hiring not too bad, the fundamentals for those sectors remain strong. What will matter more is if these fundamentals continue to fail to translate meaningfully into activity or if consumer spending and real estate start to move in the other direction.”

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