Red Deer’s unemployment rate improved in September.
The latest employment numbers released by Statistics Canada on Friday show Red Deer’s unemployment rate was 12.1 per cent this past month. It was 12.9 per cent in August.
Rick More, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce CEO, said while it’s good to see the unemployment rate decrease, now is not the moment to celebrate.
“I don’t think it’s time to do the Highland Fling,” said More.
“Any drop is going to give us some confidence, but we can ill afford to squash any small momentum that’s going forward, and going back to closing businesses down again.”
Red Deer’s unemployment rate was eight per cent in September 2019, and it was 7.2 per cent during the same month in 2018.
More said the service industry is surviving because of measures such as the wage subsidy program.
“That’s keeping our people employed. They aren’t making millions of dollars, but I think that’s one of the best programs for that industry, for sure.
“There is some confidence for businesses in the future, because that’s been extended to next year.”
More said the hope is the country can continue to go into this fall without a rise in unemployment.
“We need the consumer to feel safe and build on that momentum,” he said.
“There is some concern that with some of those deferrals, such as tax, and if those burdens become onerous for business owners. It’ll be interesting to watch for the October numbers.”
In Alberta, employment rose by 38,000 (1.8 per cent) in September, nearly all in full-time work.
Educational services, information, culture and recreation, and public administration contributed the most to the increase.
The unemployment rate was little changed at 11.7 per cent, as more people participated in the labour market.
Alberta had the slowest employment growth rate of all provinces in 2019, at 0.5 per cent, compared with the national growth rate of 2.1 per cent.
Canada added 378,000 jobs in September, bringing overall employment within 720,000 of pre-pandemic levels, Statistics Canada reports.
Overall, the unemployment rate fell to nine per cent, continuing its slide from the record high of 13.7 per cent recorded in May.
Still, there were 1.8 million Canadians unemployed in September, with the vast majority, about 1.5 million, looking for work.
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 11.9 per cent in September had it included in its calculation people who wanted a job, but didn’t look for work.
–With file from The Canadian Press