About 1,300 fewer Red Deerians are working compared to November’s numbers. (File photo by Black Press News Services)

About 1,300 fewer Red Deerians are working compared to November’s numbers. (File photo by Black Press News Services)

Red Deer unemployment rate drops below 10 per cent in December

Alberta’s unemployment rate one of highest in Canada

Red Deer’s unemployment rate saw another decrease in the final month of 2020.

According to statistics from the Alberta Labour Force, the city’s unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent in December, down from 10.4 per cent in November, but up from 6.6 per cent in December of 2019.

Those percentages only tell part of the story, as nearly 1,300 fewer Red Deerians are working compared to November’s numbers.

Compared to a year ago, about 9,000 fewer people are employed and down nearly 22,000 people from 2018.

The provincial unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, at 11 per cent. Newfoundland is the only province with a higher rate, at 12.3 per cent.

Alberta’s employment rate is one of the highest in Canada, at 61.4 per cent. The Canadian average employment rate is 58.3 per cent.

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The province’s unemployment rate has sat around 11 per cent since July, after peaking in June at around 15 per cent.

Alberta’s unemployment figures had not reached the double digits in the past 20 years, prior to the pandemic.

“While there was a reduction in part-time employment, December’s job numbers demonstrate the resiliency of the Alberta economy with an increase of 30,000 full-time jobs. This happened in the middle of a provincewide shutdown,” said Minister of Jobs, economy and innovation Doug Schweitzer.

“The pandemic is not over but we are hopeful we will soon see restrictions loosened and jobs recovered as we move forward.”

The labour force report also noted that more than 25 per cent of people between the ages of 15-24 were unemployed in December, down more than 10 per cent from 2019.

In a press release, the NDP said that in December, 12,000 Albertans lost jobs while another 17,000 gave up looking for work.

Since November, 23,000 jobs have been lost in the province and 27,000 have left the labour force, according to numbers from Statistics Canada.

“If we are going to get through this second wave and protect jobs, we need immediate financial support for workers and small businesses,” said NDP Labour Critic Chrisina Gray.

“Unfortunately, the UCP have done next to nothing for both.”

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