Jobless rate up

Unemployment in the Red Deer region crept slightly higher in January. Alberta Employment and Immigration reported on Friday that the local jobless rate — based on Statistics Canada data — was 7.2 per cent last month, up from 7.1 per cent in December. A year ago, the figure stood at 5.6 per cent.

Unemployment in the Red Deer region crept slightly higher in January.

Alberta Employment and Immigration reported on Friday that the local jobless rate — based on Statistics Canada data — was 7.2 per cent last month, up from 7.1 per cent in December. A year ago, the figure stood at 5.6 per cent.

Provincewide, the unemployment rate in January was 6.6 per cent.

That’s unchanged from December but nearly two percentage points higher than in January 2009.

The Alberta rates were calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Of the eight provincial regions, northwestern Alberta had the highest jobless tally in January, at 7.9 per cent.

The Calgary region was next at 7.3 per cent, followed by the Red Deer area, the Edmonton region at 6.7 per cent and southwestern Alberta (including Rocky Mountain House) and southeastern Alberta at six per cent each.

Northeastern Alberta had the lowest unemployment rate last month with a 4.2 per cent figure, with east-Central Alberta the second-lowest at 4.8 per cent.

Alberta’s unemployment rate in January was the third lowest in Canada, trailing Saskatchewan’s 4.7 per cent and Manitoba’s 5.4 per cent.

The Employment and Immigration Department noted that Alberta’s labour force participation rate, at 73.4 per cent, was the highest in the country and 6.3 percentage points above the national average.

Full-time employment in Alberta increased by 6,300 people during the month, while the number of part-time workers decreased by 13,900. The sectors experiencing the biggest employment gains were educational services (4,700 people); health care and social assistance (4,700 people); professional, scientific and technical services (4,600 people), and forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas (3,400 people).

Statistics Canada reported a national unemployment rate of 8.3 per cent in January, down 0.1 percentage points from December.