Red Deer region had the highest unadjusted unemployment rate in Alberta when it inched up to 7.4 per cent last month.
The rate has mostly been on the decline in 2022 with rates of 7.0 per cent in January, 7.1 in February, 6.9 in March, and 6.7 in April.
Year-over-year, the rate dropped 2.8 per cent since May 2021.
Scott Robinson, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce CEO, said Red Deer may be lagging a bit behind, but it’s expected to get better through the summer.
“Longer term we anticipate our numbers to drop to average lows. Certainly there’s lots of opportunities in Red Deer,” Robinson said.
“I think our community, our region, will continue to trend in the right direction overall.”
He said so far attention has been on oil sands activity so work for local gas service companies hasn’t increased much. Other businesses might be still struggling with supply chain issues or inflation, but there have been lots of stores opening their doors.
“We have several grand openings over the next several weeks. That’s a sign that they’re confident in the economy,” Robinson said.
According to Statistics Canada, the Edmonton and Calgary regions tied for the second highest unadjusted unemployment rate in Alberta at 6.3 per cent, followed by Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake and Camrose-Drumheller at 5.7 per cent. Lethbridge-Medicine Hat at 5.0 per cent, and Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House, Athabasca-Grande Prairie and Peace River at 4.7 per cent.
Camrose had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 per cent.
Alberta’s unemployment fell to 6.0 per cent in May from 6.7 per cent in April.
Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — which eliminate the effect of seasonal influences — was down by 0.6 per cent to 5.3 per cent in May.
Statistics Canada reported that employment in Alberta grew by 28,000 (1.2 per cent) in May, building on gains in April. Professional, scientific and technical services increased by 11,000 (5.5 per cent), and transportation and warehousing by 8,000 (6.6 per cent) which were the primary contributors to the employment gains.
Alberta also saw long-term unemployment drop from 31.8 per cent in April to 23.2 per cent in May, which is influenced by a number of factors, including geographic variations in the demographic composition of the labour force and in the match between the skills required for vacant positions and the skills of potential workers.
Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer said an increase of 60,600 full-time jobs in May is incredible news for Albertans.
“Alberta is once again the economic engine of Canada. In May, 69 per cent of the country’s total job growth was seen in our province,” Schweitzer said in a statement.