Local unemployment rises

Unemployment in the Red Deer region rose for the second consecutive month in March, ending the area’s claim of having the lowest jobless rate in Alberta.

Unemployment in the Red Deer region rose for the second consecutive month in March, ending the area’s claim of having the lowest jobless rate in Alberta.

Statistics Canada calculated local unemployment at 4.3 per cent in March, up from 3.4 per cent in February and 2.8 per cent in January. A year ago, the figure was 5.9 per cent.

The lowest unemployment rate among the province’s eight regions now belongs to Camrose-Drumheller, which was at 3.6 per cent last month. Next was Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House (3.8 per cent), followed by Athabasca-Grande Prairie (3.9 per cent), Red Deer, Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake and Lethbridge-Medicine Hat (both 4.6 per cent), Edmonton (4.7 per cent) and Calgary (5.0 per cent).

Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 4.9 per cent, up from 4.3 per cent in February but unchanged from March 2013.

Alberta’s rate was the second lowest in Canada, behind Saskatchewan’s 4.5 per cent. The national average was 6.9 per cent.

Alberta’s labour force increased by 13,500 people from February to March, while employment fell by 900.

Between March 2013 and March 2014, employment in the province grew by 86,600 — representing 45.6 per cent of Canada’s employment growth during that period.