Alberta boasts lowest unemployment rate
Student employment takes fall from last year
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 06:00 am
Propelled by job creation in the resource sector, Alberta continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, Statistics Canada reports in its latest labour force survey.
The federal agency found the provincial employment rate dropped to 69.9 per cent in June compared to 70.4 per cent the month before, while unemployment increased from 4.5 per cent to 4.6 per cent.
Despite the changes, the province continues to beat the national average, ranking highest in terms of employment and lowest for unemployment.
“Alberta has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and we have generated 55,000 jobs since this time last year,” said Sonia Sinha, spokesperson with Alberta Human Services.
Edmonton’s metropolitan area, including St. Albert, surpassed the provincial average, with 70.1 per cent of area residents over the age of 15 employed. The unemployment rate for the area sits at just 4.4 per cent.
“We are creating jobs because the economy is strong and it will continue to generate jobs for Albertans,” she said, adding 12,000 jobs were listed in a federal database last month specifically for the Edmonton area.
Natural resources, including forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas, represented the largest increase in employment, with 36,700 jobs created, equalling a 10.9-per-cent boost over June 2011.
Sinha said the main industries present in St. Albert include food service, retail and labour.
According to the 2010 Municipal Census, St. Albert’s unemployment rate was 2.25 per cent that year, with a majority of residents employed full time, 12 per cent employed part-time and the remainder were students, retired or homemakers.
Canadian students seeking summer employment had a harder time finding a job in June, according to the Labour Force Survey.
The survey shows that 63.2 per cent of individuals between 20 and 24 were employed as of June 2012. This compares to 67.4 per cent in June of 2011.
“The June 2012 rate matches the rate observed in June 2009, when student employment was hard hit by the labour downturn, and is also the lowest June employment rate since comparable data became available in 1977,” the Labour Force Survey said.
Unemployment reached 13 per cent last month, up two per cent from the year before. Unemployment for youth 17 to 19 also grew, up 3.5 per cent to 17.3 per cent.
“Students in St. Albert are employed … they are finding jobs, generally,” said Sandra Hughes, adult service coordinator at the St. Albert Public Library.
The library houses the Library Career Resource Centre, which provides tools to individuals seeking employment. It is managed in partnership with Alberta Human Services and the St. Albert Alberta Works Centre, which provides employment counselling.
“We had hopes to have more this year because we understood that the Canada Student Employment Centres weren’t going to be available this year, but we haven’t seen more young people,” Hughes said.
The Library Career Resource Centre sees roughly 550 people each month, which has remained fairly consistent since 2010, she said.
“The highest number was during the economic recession from 2008 to 2010. We had peak use and then we kind of entered a period of recovery,” she said.