Red Deer’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 10.2 per cent, while the province’s rate dropped to 9.1 per cent in the month of March.
When compared to February, the city’s unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points, but more people are entering the labour force.
“Overall it’s a positive report. It’s a step in the right direction,” said Reg Warkentin, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce policy and government relations manager.
He said there are 3,000 additional people working compared to a month ago.
“But … we’re really concerned we’re going to see another reduction in next month’s report because of the new (COVID-19) restrictions on our hospitality sector.”
Warkentin said it’s “a sign of optimism” that more people are looking for work.
“I think it’s in due partly because of the seasonality of the work force. But we’re really hoping there is actually jobs that become available for those people who are looking,” he said.
Meanwhile, the provincial rate dropped by 0.8 percentage points when compared to February, according to the latest Alberta Labour Force statistics.
“The unemployment rate decreased because employment increased by 37,100 and the labour force increased by 18,400 people from the previous month,” Alberta Labour Force said in its employment statistics report, which was released Friday.
Full-time employment increased by 11,900 while part-time employment increased by 25,100 over the same period, the report states.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, employment increased by 71,600 in the province. The number of unemployed Albertans increased by 5,700 over the same period.
Alberta has the third highest unemployment rate among Canadian provinces – New Brunswick has 9.2 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador sits at 12.4 per cent.
The national rate was 7.5 per cent in March, which was down 0.7 percentage points from the previous month.
Year-over-year, employment gains in Alberta were led by the private sector at 45,800. Public sector employment increased by 29,400, while self employment increased by 3,700 over the same period.
In March, the industries that had the most employment increases from the previous month were educational services (11,500), professional, scientific and technical services (7,400), and forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas (4,400).
Industries that had the most employment decreases were business, building and other support services (3,200), Accommodation and food services (200), and public administration (200).