Mario ToneguzziWhile Alberta lost close to 17,000 jobs in December, the year ended up as a pretty good one for the province when it came to the labour market. It closed 2018 with total employment growing by 21,600 for the year.

Data released on Friday by Statistics Canada said “overall employment in the province has been increasing since June 2016.”

In December, the unemployment rate in Alberta was 6.4 per cent, which was up from 6.3 per cent in November.

“Following losses in late 2015 and early 2016 in the aftermath of declining oil prices, employment in Alberta recovered in 2017 (plus 55,000 or plus 2.4 per cent). Employment continued to grow in 2018, up 22,000 (plus 0.9 per cent). All the gains in 2018 were in full-time work, and were spread across a number of industries. The unemployment rate in Alberta fell from 7.0 per cent at the end of 2017 to 6.4 per cent at the end of 2018,” said the federal agency.

In the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 per cent in December from 7.9 per cent in November. On a monthly basis, 300 jobs were lost but year-over-year employment was up 7,900.

In the Edmonton census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose from 6.2 per cent in November to 6.3 per cent in December. Employment was up 2,400 month over month and 27,500 year over year.

Across Canada, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.6 per cent.

Employment increased by 163,300 year over year and by 9,300 month over month.

In 2018, employment increased by 0.9 per cent in Canada. This pace of growth was slower compared with 2017 (plus 2.3 per cent) and 2016 (plus 1.2 per cent), said StatsCan.

“Over the course of the year, the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 per cent – the lowest rate since comparable data became available in January 1976. Full-time employment continued on an upward trend in 2018, growing by 185,000 or 1.2 per cent, while part-time employment was little changed,” it said.

“Among the core-working-age population (aged 25 to 54), employment in 2018 increased more notably for women (plus 126,000 or plus 2.2 per cent) than for men (plus 61,000 or plus 1.0 per cent). At year end, the unemployment rate among this age group was 4.6 per cent for women and 4.8 per cent for men.

“Following strong growth in both goods and service industries in 2017, overall employment gains in 2018 were recorded almost entirely in service industries, including health care and social assistance (plus 74,000 or plus 3.1 per cent); business, building and other support services (plus 59,000 or plus 7.8 per cent); transportation and warehousing (plus 56,000 or plus 5.7 per cent); and educational services (plus 33,000 or plus 2.6 per cent).”

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