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Saturday, March 12, 2011
Alberta a 'job-creation machine'
Categories:Alberta Economy,Buy a House In Calgary,Calgary Economy,Calgary Market Trends,Calgary Real Estate,Unemployment
Good things ahead for Alberta - JOBS are coming back strong.
Unemployment rate hits national 2-year low of 5.7%
Alberta is back as a "job-creating machine." It was the only province to register a notable employment gain in February. Statistics Canada reported Friday that 13,700 new jobs were created in Alberta last month as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent from 5.9 per cent in January -its lowest level since February 2009.
It was the second consecutive month that employment increased in Alberta. In January, 21,600 new jobs were created, the largest employment gain since 2006 in the province.
However, in the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose to 6.3 per cent in February from 6.0 per cent in January as 4,400 new jobs were created in the month. From February 2010 to February 2011, employment in the Calgary CMA has increased by only 1,400 jobs.
Alberta's unemployment rate was second lowest in the country, tied with Saskatchewan and behind Manitoba's 5.3 per cent. A year ago, Alberta's unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent while the Calgary region's was 7.1 per cent.
Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary, said the Alberta numbers are encouraging with two strong months of job growth in the province. "We've recaptured about 78 per cent of the jobs that we lost during the recession," he said. "The rate of increase that we're seeing in Alberta in the last 12 months or so has outpaced Canada. It definitely indicates Alberta is back as a jobcreating machine.
"With a few more months of even reasonably strong growth, we will definitely be back to record levels of employment in the province and that's what we've been expecting to see in 2011."
Hirsch said provincially, disproportionately more jobs are going to be created in central and northern Alberta.
"That's really just the dynamics with what's going on with the energy sector. It's all about oil and oilsands these days. Southern Alberta, with the exception of some of the administrative and some of the head office jobs, we're much more exposed to natural gas and that's been lagging."
He said most of Alberta's gains in February were concentrated in the manufacturing sector (12,700), a clear sign that oil refineries, manufacturers of equipment for oilsands extraction and food processors are continuing to add more workers.
Elsbeth Mehrer, director of research, workforce and strategy at Calgary Economic Development, said the jobless rate in Calgary rose in February because the labour force number is growing. According to Statistics Canada, the labour force in the Calgary region grew by 6,200 people on a monthly basis.
"As I read that, my feeling is that people are starting to feel some renewed confidence and they're starting to come back into the job market," she said.
"As we see some hiring pick up and we see people start to recognize that there's not only some renewed vigour, but even in some industries a shortage appearing again, people are starting to put themselves back into circulation."
Nationally, employment edged up in February by 15,100, bringing total gains over the past three months to 115,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 per cent. The federal agency said that over the past 12 months, employment has risen by 1.9 per cent (321,700).
In Alberta, 68,300 jobs have been created since February 2010.
"Compared with February 2010, when Alberta was near its employment-low following the labour market downturn, employment has grown by 3.4 per cent, well above the national rate of 1.9 per cent," the federal agency said.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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