Gina Teel. Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alta.: Jul 12, 2008
Alberta's employment rate hit an all-time high in June, reaping the highest rate in Canada, as the province's legendary red-hot streak in job growth continued full steam ahead.
The numbers, in Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey, should put to bed any niggling worries that Alberta's economy may be faltering, said Frank Atkins, associate professor of economics at the University of Calgary.
"Everyone thinks that because the housing market went through a correction that the whole Alberta economy may be heading in the wrong direction, but these employment numbers certainly don't point that way," he said.
June's employment rate of 72.2 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points from May, is the highest Alberta's seen since January 1976, when the data series began, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Total employment in Alberta increased by 10,000 from May to June -- the largest gain since July 2007.
Alberta's unemployment rate, meanwhile, was 3.3 per cent in June, compared with 3.6 per cent in May, and still the lowest in the country.
Nationally, employment was unchanged in June for the second consecutive month.
Statistics Canada said 39,000 full-time positions were lost in June, while the number of part-time jobs rose by 34,200.
The national unemployment rate gained 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 per cent, but is still among the lowest in 30 years, the federal agency said.
Nationwide job creation, however, was below expectations.
Todd Hirsch, senior economist at ATB Financial in Calgary, said nationally, while Canada's labour market had a net drop of 5,000 jobs, economists had expected an increase of 10,000.
Most of the job growth action was in Western Canada, he said, with 18,000 net new jobs in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Ontario, meanwhile, shed 24,000 jobs in June, one of the largest monthly drops in recent history for that province, Hirsch said.
Ontario's unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 per cent.
Alberta also notched the highest participation rate of any province, Hirsch said.
Alberta's participation rate was 74.6 per cent, with Manitoba a distant second at 69.8 per cent.
The participation rate is the percentage of people over the age of 15 who are working or looking for work; whereas the employment rate reflects only the people who work in the labour force.
"It just shows you that people moved to Alberta to work because there are a lot of jobs, so it shouldn't be surprising that our participation rate and employment rate are the highest in the country," Hirsch said.
Statistics Canada said Alberta's job growth in June was led by professional, scientific and technical services -- one of the fastest growing industries in Alberta and Canada.
The industry has largely driven Alberta's employment growth for the past year which, at 3.1 per cent, has been the fastest of all the provinces.
And while part-time employment in June in Alberta is up by 10,000, since June 2007, full-time employment is up 37,000 and part-time is up 23,000, said Danielle Zietsma with Statistics Canada's labour statistics division.
"Part time is growing at a faster rate than full time," she said.
Overall in Alberta, in June, there were 335,000 people working part time, and 1.7 million people working full time, she said.