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Unemployment rates by region: Part One

Unemployment rates by region: Part One

Posted on: 8/14/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

The rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary is a long and storied one, usually played out on the football field or hockey rink. But the two cities also compete economically, with usually one of the two boasting the best labour market. Edmonton’s labour market had the edge over Calgary throughout the recession, but that now appears to be changing.

The chart below shows the unemployment rate for both cities over the last five years. After nearly identical rates prior to the oil price collapse, Calgary suffered far greater layoffs than Edmonton. The unemployment rate topped 10 per cent last summer in Calgary, and at one point was 3.3 percentage points higher than that in Edmonton.

But lately, the trend has reversed. The unemployment rate in Calgary has been dropping in 2017, while it continues to rise in Edmonton. As of last month, the jobless rate in both cities was identical at 8.5 per cent. Oil and gas jobs in Calgary, which tend to be more corporate head office type of jobs, seem to be gradually coming back (albeit at lower pay). Edmonton, on the other hand, has proportionately more oil field support and manufacturing jobs feeding into the resource sector. These appear to have lagged the downturn and are only now starting to dry up.

Aside from the two major cities, how is the rest of the province doing? Tomorrow in Part Two of this series, The Owl will look at unemployment in Fort McMurray, Lethbridge and Red Deer.???

Unemployment rate by region, graph? ???

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