Red Deer region’s November unemployment numbers do not tell the whole jobs story.
While unemployment increased from 5.5 per cent in October to 6.2 per cent in November — the highest rate among the province’s seven economic regions — employment also went up, said Andrew Fields, an analyst with Statistics Canada’s Centre for Labour Market Information.
“If unemployment goes up and employment goes down, then you have a little bit of a situation, people are losing jobs and essentially can’t find a new one,” said Fields.
But that is not the case in the region.
The November numbers show there were 900 people more people looking for work. However, total employment grew by 1,900 people from October.
“So both of them are going up, resulting in the total number of people participating in the labour force in Red Deer region going up by almost 3,000.
“In some ways, it’s a little bit of a mixed signal, but it could be people are seeking out opportunities. There are more people entering the labour market.
“So, all that together. That’s the story. It’s not just that the unemployment rate is going up because we’re not seeing job losses on the employment side.”
The numbers suggest that more people might be getting into the region’s labour market, but not all are immediately finding jobs, prompting the unemployment rate increase.
“It’s not that people are leaving the labour market, or leaving employment or giving up on work.”
Among the region’s key employment sectors, wholesale and retail trade, health care, construction, education and natural resources employment remains relatively stable year over year.
Year-over-year statistics also indicate the region’s employment situation is improving. In November 2021, unemployment was at 6.6 per cent.
Since then, there are 4,100 more people working in the region — a 3.8 per cent increase that has driven the workforce up to about 111,000 in the region, which has a population of about 181,000. In November, there were about 7,300 unemployed people.
That is significantly higher than the Canadian average of 2.2 per cent and not far off the provincial average of 4.2 per cent, which was driven by a 6.7 per increase in jobs in Calgary.