Stats suggest jobs lagging

The Red Deer region continues to lead the province in unemployment, according to the latest Statistics Canada figures, and the gap is widening.

The Red Deer region continues to lead the province in unemployment, according to the latest Statistics Canada figures, and the gap is widening.

The national statistical agency revealed on Friday that the local jobless rate for January was calculated at six per cent, up from 5.3 per cent in December and 5.2 per cent in November.

It marked the second consecutive month that unemployment in the Red Deer region was higher than in any of the six other geographic areas in the province.

Jennifer Dagsvik, regional communications manager for Central Alberta with Alberta Works, said her department’s recent experiences in Red Deer suggest a different story.

“We’re not seeing on the ground any kind of an increase.”

She noted that local positions being advertised on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank increased from 1,102 in December to 2,085 last month.

“We’ve had three very popular multi-employer job fairs in Red Deer,” said Dagsvik.

“We’re getting a number of employers wanting to get into the job fairs, and in fact are on a waiting list.”

Statistics Canada placed the January unemployment rate in the Athabasca-Grande Prairie region at five per cent, followed by Calgary at 4.9 per cent, Edmonton at 4.7 per cent, Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake at 4.4 per cent, Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House at 4.3 per cent, Lethbridge-Medicine Hat at 4.2 per cent and Camrose-Drumheller at 3.8 per cent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the province as a whole in January was 4.9 per cent, unchanged from December.

A year ago, the unemployment rate for the Red Deer region was 5.2 per cent, compared with a provincial average of 5.9 per cent.

Alberta’s jobless rate last month was the lowest among the provinces, while the national figure of 7.6 per cent was up 0.1 percentage points from December.

The labour force in Alberta grew by 3,200 from December to January.

Employment was up by approximately 1,900, with full-time positions increasing by about 21,900 and part-time positions declining by 19,900.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com