Alberta posts worst unemployment rate in decade

OTTAWA -- The bite of the oil-price shock sunk its teeth deeper into the job markets of Canada's oil-producing provinces last month, with Alberta posting its worst unemployment rate in a decade.

See Full Article

Significant January job losses in Alberta, as well as the fellow oil-rich province of Newfoundland and Labrador, offset Ontario's solid net gain in employment, Statistics Canada said Friday in its latest labour force survey.

On balance, job growth sputtered in neutral across Canada, with 5,700 fewer jobs recorded. That number, however, was within the survey's margin of error and not statistically significant.

The national unemployment rate moved to 7.2 per cent -- up from 7.1 per cent in December -- as more people entered the job market, the agency said.

But a starker month-to-month picture emerged when looking at last month's Alberta jobs data.

The jobless rate in Alberta hit 7.4 per cent in January, up from seven per cent in December. That pushed it higher than the national unemployment rate for the first time since December 1988, the report said.

Robert Kavcic, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the StatCan survey shows the weakness in Alberta is now spreading to other sectors of its economy as the oil-price slump filters through.

Alberta, the agency said, suffered a net decline of 21,900 full-time positions in January, with the bulk of the decrease concentrated in agriculture and manufacturing, particularly those tied to the struggling energy sector. The drop was offset in part by an increase of 11,900 part-time jobs.

The report's numbers also pointed to declines in other oil-exporting provinces, such as Newfoundland and Saskatchewan.

Newfoundland showed a net month-to-month decrease in January of 2,400 jobs -- knocking employment down 3.1 per cent compared to the year before.

In Saskatchewan, the unemployment rate moved up to 5.6 per cent from 5.5 per cent, as the economy shed 6,000 full-time jobs.

"In a nutshell, obviously, pretty dramatic weakness in oil-producing provinces," Kavcic said.

Manitoba also suffered considerable job losses last month by dropping 5,300 net positions -- an 0.8 per cent month-to-month drop compared to December. Most of the decline came in the services sector.

On the positive side, the agency said Ontario was the only province to show significant growth last month as it added 19,800 net positions, including 16,300 full-time jobs. Compared with a year earlier, Ontario showed a net gain of 100,200 jobs, an increase of 1.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, British Columbia's employment was up 2.1 per cent in January compared with 12 months earlier.

Kavcic said Ontario and British Columbia have been driving job creation in Canada amid a "pretty dramatic shakeup" in the regional breakdown of the country's labour market.

"When you smooth out the last six months, Canada has still created roughly 9,000 or 10,000 jobs per month over that period," Kavcic said.

"So, that's a little bit slow historically, but still, I mean, it's not terrible given the oil-price shock that we've been dealing with."

The report found a nationwide net increase of 19,700 jobs in the services industry only partially made up for the 25,300 net drop in employment in the goods-producing sector.

The decline included big losses of 13,700 positions in agriculture and 11,000 jobs in manufacturing, largely linked to the declines in those sectors in Alberta.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said the overall StatCan survey results amounted to a "weak report."

"Canada's job prospects are only just catching up to the malaise in the rest of the economy," Shenfeld wrote in a note to clients. "Not surprisingly, it's oil-centred Alberta where the bad news is hitting hardest."

The jobs data also showed that self-employed positions fell by 20,200 last month, while the net number of employee jobs increased by 14,500.

Statistics Canada also released the latest figures Friday on international merchandise trade.

It showed that Canada's trade balance for December was negative $585 million, as total exports rose 3.9 per cent compared with November and imports climbed 1.6 per cent.

Kavcic called the trade number "solid" and he said it showed a pretty good increase in export volumes across a number of the non-energy sectors.

"We continue to see the story where net exports are adding, at least modestly, to growth in Canada," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Italian PM 'guarantees' savers' accounts in 2 troubled banks

    Economic CTV News
    ROME -- Italy's premier says holders of accounts in two troubled Italian banks will have their savings guaranteed despite insolvency proceedings. Premier Paolo Gentiloni was referring to Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, each struggling with unpaid loans. Source
  • Forget the poop scooping: who will pay the bills for your pet?

    Economic CBC News
    The scene is so common, it's cliché: Your adorable child looks longingly into your eyes, begging for a pet. You somehow navigate the emotionally fraught minefield of cat vs. dog. Then it's time to talk chores. Source
  • 'Eventually, many will run out': How an LCBO strike could impact restaurants and bars

    Economic CBC News
    A long drawn-out strike by liquor store workers could have a significant impact on Ontario's restaurants, wine importers, bars and consumers — but it may offer a boon to some local wineries. "Eventually, many [restaurants and bars] will run out, if not all, if it goes into a month, two months," said Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association. Source
  • Ivanka Trump ordered to testify in dispute with shoe company

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Ivanka Trump must testify in a dispute with an Italian shoemaker over one of her company's shoe designs, a judge said Friday. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest rejected a request by the senior White House aide's lawyers that she be blocked from submitting to a deposition in the trademark infringement lawsuit brought by Aquazzura Italia SRL against her and her company IT Collection LLC. Source
  • Cooling measures already affecting hot Toronto housing market: survey

    Economic CTV News
    The recent intervention by the Ontario government to cool the Toronto-area’s hot housing market is already having an impact on sellers and buyers plans for the year, according to a new poll. At the end of April, Ont. Source
  • Why is the American teen summer job disappearing? [Video]

    Economic Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie “The Shining,” where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheque. He was a busboy. The job didn’t pay much. But Doyle quickly learned lessons that served him for years as he rose to become the CEO of Domino’s, the pizza delivery giant: Source
  • Waiting for a Canadian housing crash? Warren Buffet bets against it buying 38% stake in Home Capital Group Inc.

    Economic Toronto Sun
    Warren Buffett's deal to back Home Capital Group Inc. does more than support a struggling mortgage lender -- it's a vote of confidence for a housing market that everyone from investors to global ratings companies say is a bubble ready to burst. Source
  • CIBC looks to generate quarter of earnings from U.S.

    Economic CBC News
    CIBC closed its acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp on Friday, securing its foothold in the U.S. where CEO Victor Dodig said the bank hopes to one day generate a quarter of its earnings. The Canadian bank now earns roughly five per cent of its profits in the U.S. Source
  • CIBC closes acquisition of U.S.-based PrivateBancorp

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- CIBC closed its acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp on Friday, securing its foothold in the U.S. where CEO Victor Dodig said the bank hopes to one day generate a quarter of its earnings. The Canadian bank (TSX:CM) now earns roughly five per cent of its profits in the U.S. Source
  • Consumer demand for debt as high as it has ever been, Equifax says

    Economic CBC News
    Canadians' appetite for debt is as insatiable as ever, a new report from credit monitoring firm Equifax says. Equifax calculates that Canadian consumers owed $1.729 trillion at the end of the first quarter, an increase of 6.9 per cent in a year. Source