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According to Statistics Canada, employment in Alberta was unchanged between December and January. However, a large gain of almost 25,000 part-time jobs more than offset a drop nearly that size in full-time jobs, suggesting a drop in the quality of available work.
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ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team February 10, 2017
Job market unchanged in January
The thousands of Albertans who are pounding the pavement looking for work may be finding that the situation is not getting much better. But then again, they may be finding that it’s not getting much worse.
 
According to Statistics Canada, employment in Alberta was unchanged between December and January. However, a large gain of almost 25,000 part-time jobs more than offset a drop nearly that size in full-time jobs, suggesting a drop in the quality of available work.
 
The size of the labour force in our province (i.e., the number of people actively working or looking for work) rose by some 8,600 people in January. That was enough to push the unemployment rate up from 8.5 per cent in December to 8.8 per cent in January. Calgary’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a per cent to 9.8 per cent, while Edmonton’s edged up six-tenths of a per cent to 8.1 per cent.
 
Because our province has spent most of the last two years in recession, we are now at the point where the year-over-year comparison shows little change. That is, compared to January of last year total employment in Alberta is now essentially the same (-0.1 per cent). But compared to April of 2015—the highest month of employment on record—total employment is lower by almost two per cent.
 
With stability in the energy sector and business confidence gradually improving this year, the job market is unlikely to show further deterioration. That is, the worst is over. On the other hand, employers may be hesitant to start hiring back too many workers—suggesting a few more difficult months ahead for job seekers.
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