Jobless numbers improve

Red Deer’s unemployment crept up slightly last month, but remains significantly better than a year earlier. The local jobless rate was 5.3 per cent in February, compared with 5.2 per cent a month earlier, according to Statistics Canada figures released by Alberta Employment and Immigration on Friday.

Red Deer’s unemployment crept up slightly last month, but remains significantly better than a year earlier.

The local jobless rate was 5.3 per cent in February, compared with 5.2 per cent a month earlier, according to Statistics Canada figures released by Alberta Employment and Immigration on Friday.

A year ago, unemployment hit 6.9 per cent in the Red Deer region.

Alberta’s seasonally adjusted employment rate last month was 5.7 per cent, down from 5.9 per cent in January and from 6.8 per cent a year ago.

On a regional basis in February, Lethbridge-Medicine Hat and Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake shared the lowest jobless rate at 4.5 per cent.

Camrose-Drumheller was next (4.9 per cent), Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House (5.2 per cent), Red Deer, Edmonton (5.7 per cent), and Calgary and Athabasca-Grande Prairie.

Alberta’s unemployment rate is the second lowest among the 10 provinces, tied with Saskatchewan at 5.7 per cent. Manitoba has the lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent. Newfoundland is highest at 12.8 per cent.

The national average is 7.8 per cent, the same as the previous month, but down from 8.2 per cent a year ago.

Meanwhile, Red Deer employers expect a moderate hiring climate for the second quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Survey data reveals that 23 per cent of employers plan to hire in the April-to-June quarter, while 13 per cent anticipate cutbacks.

Sixty-four per cent of employers plan to hold the line on hiring.