Red Deer Region’s unemployment up in March

Statistics Canada says region’s unemployment still second best among Alberta’s seven economic regions

Red Deer region’s unemployment rate continued to beat the trend in Alberta last month, although jobless numbers are on the rise.

The economic region posted a 5.3 per cent unemployment rate, topped only by 4.4 per cent in the sprawling region that includes Banff, Jasper, Rocky Mountain House, Athabasca, Grande Prairie and Peace River, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour numbers.

However, Red Deer region’s unemployment rate was moving in the wrong direction, up from the 4.7 per cent recorded in February — which was among the best in Canada’s 66 economic regions.

The provincial unemployment rate last month was 7.2 per cent, up from 6.8 per cent a year ago.

Calgary and Edmonton continued to show the signs the lengthy economic downturn has had on the workforce.

Edmonton’s unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent and Calgary’s was 7.9 per cent — which continues to leave the province’s big cities near the bottom of the pack among the 33 metropolitan centres that Statistics Canada keeps an eye on.

Canada-wide, Alberta’s unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent was the highest outside the Maritimes. B.C.’s 4.8 per cent unemployment was the lowest in the nation, followed by Manitoba (5.4 per cent), Saskatchewan (5.6 per cent), Ontario (5.9 per cent), Quebec (5.9 per cent), Nova Scotia (7.3 per cent), New Brunswick (9.4 per cent), P.E.I. (11.9 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (13.2 per cent).

Nationally, unemployment stood at 6.1 per cent last month.

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