Economy

Western Alberta unemployment rate jumps above 5 per cent

Western Alberta unemployment rate jumps above 5 per cent

The economy shed 18,900 full-time jobs in December while part-time positions grew by 28,300.

Barrie's jobless rate is now the third lowest in the province, sitting behind Guelph and Hamilton, which recorded unemployment numbers of 2.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

For all of 2018, employment in Alberta rose 0.9 per cent as the province added 21,600 jobs.

Statistics Canada says the economic region that stretches from Banff to Peace River ended 2018 at a rate of 5.2 per cent. The growth follows a net uptick of 94,000 jobs in November, which was Canada's largest monthly increase since March 2012.

The average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees - a figure closely watched by the central bank - remained at 1.5 percent in December, the lowest since the 1.2 percent seen in July 2017.

The unemployment rate in Canada sits at 5.2 per cent, while the unemployment rate in Alberta is now at 6.1 per cent. The growth was slower compared to 2017 (2.3 per cent) and 2016 (1.2 per cent).

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Alberta, which has been hit hard by a drop in oil prices, saw a net decrease last month of 16,900 jobs or 0.7 per cent, compared with November, as an increase in part-time work was far outweighed by a loss of 36,200 full-time positions.

Provincially, the unemployment rate stayed the same at 4.4 per cent and the country also saw no movement last month (5.6 per cent).

Nationally, the unemployment rate for the year fell to 5.6 per cent - the lowest in 43 years.

The Bank of Canada has been watching wage growth ahead of its rate decisions as it tries to determine how well-indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs.

Employment held steady over December with increases in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, as well as in health care plus social assistance.