20,000 Albertans got back to work last month, StatsCan says

Council committee votes to boost Calgary investment fund by $90M

Employment in Alberta is on the upswing, with a net gain of 20,000 more people working in the last month, according to the latest figures compiled by Statistics Canada.

Those gains helped Alberta's unemployment rate dip a bit lower to 8.4 per cent in March, the federal agency said Friday.

That compares to a high of 9 per cent last November, when the jobless rate peaked as a result of the energy sector downturn.

"Employment in the province has been on an upward trend since the autumn of 2016, following a strong downward trend which began in 2015," Statistics Canada said in a release.

Calgary down, Edmonton up

In Calgary, the jobless rate has been dropping steadily. In November last year it stood at 10.2 per cent and last month it was down to 9.3 per cent.

Calgary's unemployment rate remains the highest of all major Canadian cities.

The unemployment rate in Edmonton been going in the other direction, rising from 6.9 per cent in November 2016  to 7.5 per cent the next month, up to 8.1 per cent at the start of 2017, and reaching 8.4 per cent in March, the figures show.

Significant turnaround

The addition of 20,000 workers last month is a significant turnaround for a province that saw about 43,000 jobs slashed between from December 2014 to April 2016 — mostly in oil and gas, mining, forestry, quarrying and fishing, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Nationally, Canada's unemployment rate ticked up slightly in March to 6.7 per cent, from 6.6 per cent, driven by a rise in the number of people looking for work.

Net employment across Canada grew by 19,400 jobs in March, an increase of 0.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. That means some regions saw a net decrease in employment, in contrast to Alberta's gains. 

Employment in Alberta:

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