Alberta: 23,300 jobs were created, unemployment rate 2nd lowest in Canada

Canadians continue to move to Alberta for jobs and our hot economy. This is what caused the housing boom in 2007 and is expected to continue to support home prices here. With only 2000 listings for homes for sale prices are actually rising here – the opposite of Vancouver and Toronto.

CALGARY — Alberta’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in January at 4.5 per cent, second lowest in the country behind Saskatchewan’s 4.0 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency reported Friday that Alberta saw an employment gain of 9,700 positions from December, up 0.4 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province has grown by 1.9 per cent or 41,100 positions.

In the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose from 4.6 per cent in December to 4.9 per cent in January. There were 1,700 jobs created, up 0.2 per cent. Year-over-year, 23,300 jobs were created in the region for an increase in employment of 3.2 per cent.

“Alberta added jobs, but the unemployment rate held steady, as more people joined the labour force,” said Jacqueline Palladini, economist with the Conference Board of Canada.

Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial, said 8,600 of the new jobs in Alberta were full-time positions.

Job gains in Alberta were concentrated in finance, insurance and real estate (6,800), business support services (5,500), and construction (4,800). Those gains were partially offset by losses in transportation and warehousing (11,800), and retail and wholesale trades (6,800), explained Hirsch.

“January’s jobs report continues to portray Alberta’s labour market as healthy and balanced,” he said. “New jobs are being created to accommodate interprovincial and international migrants, but not so many that wages or labour shortages are in danger of overheating. In the months ahead, it is certainly possible, even likely, that the pace of new job creation will slow, particularly given the challenges in the energy sector. That should not be the cause of too much alarm, however. With 4.5 per cent unemployment, the economy is more than capable of managing a more moderate job market.”

Nationally, following two months of gains, employment decreased slightly in January by 22,000. A decline in the number of people looking for work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.0 per cent.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 1.6 per cent or 286,000, all in full-time work.

Douglas Porter, chief economist with BMO Capital Markets, said Canadian employment fell in January after a five-month stretch of surprisingly powerful gains.

“Combined with the steep drop in housing starts as well as the still-wide trade deficit, the jobs report rounds out a day of infamy for Canadian economic stats,” said Porter. “To some extent, the drop in jobs appears to be a payback for the surprising strength in the second half of last year, and would normally be little cause for concern. However, with housing softening notably, and consumers and governments not in much mood, or ability, to spend, the economy will need a major helping hand from a stronger U.S. performance in the year ahead to help generate renewed job gains.”

Sonya Gulati, senior economist with TD Economics, said the Canadian job market started 2013 on a sour note.

“The contraction seen this month is not the beginning of a new year – the recent pace of job creation was running too fast given economic growth,” she said.

“The Canadian job market fizzled to start the New Year. This should not have been a surprise to anyone. Labour market data in Canada are notoriously volatile and it is hard to infer trends even with a few months under your belt. If we use economic momentum and indicators as our gauge, job creation should come in around 10,000-20,000 in the next few months.”

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