The Red Deer Region had the highest unemployment among the province’s seven economic regions in November and was the only one to see an increase in unemployment since October.
Unemployment ticked upward to 6.2 per cent in November from 5.5 per cent the previous month. Unemployment is still lower than a year ago, when it was 6.6 per cent in November 2021. Unemployment remained the same month-over-month in Edmonton at 4.9 per cent but the other five economic regions saw small decreases.
Provincially, the unemployment rate was also on the rise, climbing to 5.8 per cent in November from 5.2 per cent. Provincial statistics are adjusted to take into account seasonal swings in unemployment. Economic region numbers are based on a three-month moving average but are not seasonally adjusted.
Alberta’s unemployment rate remains above the national average of 5.1 per cent, which was down slightly from 5.2 per cent in October and a full percentage point below the 6.1 per cent rate of a year ago.
Quebec had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.8 per cent, followed by Saskatchewan (4.2), B.C. (4.4), Manitoba (4.4), Ontario (5.5), Alberta (5.8), Nova Scotia (6.0), P.E.I. (6.8), New Brunswick (7.3) and Newfoundland (10.7).
Among Alberta’s seven economic regions, Lethbridge-Medicine Hat had the lowest unemployment at 2.9 per cent, followed by Camrose-Drumheller (3.9), Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake (4.5), Edmonton (4.9), Calgary (5.4), Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River (5.6) and Red Deer (6.2).
Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Scott Robinson said it is difficult to say what may be influencing local job numbers, which still remain close to what is considered full employment.
They may reflect hiring decisions being made by companies based in Canada’s bigger centres who are looking to prepare for an economic downturn next year.
“Some larger companies are laying off people in anticipation of a downturn,” said Robinson.
Red Deer’s oil and gas sector, which has a different makeup than in other parts of the province, may also be behind some job loss.
Robinson does not see any cause for alarm with the increase in unemployment, both provincially and regionally.
The Alberta and central Alberta economies are showing few signs of weakness for the foreseeable future.
“The near- to medium-term indicators are that we’re going to be robust for the next six months,” he said.
NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley cited the province’s latest unemployment numbers — which showed that Alberta lost 10,000 full-time and 5,100 part-time jobs in November — in a renewed call for Premier Danielle Smith to release an economic impact study connected to the proposed Sovereignty Act.
The Canadian and Calgary Chambers of Commerce have expressed concern the sovereignty issues could drive away jobs and investment.