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Saturday, August 6, 2011 - Glory days return for Alberta jobs

'Glory' days return for Alberta jobs

Gain of 22,000 in June biggest in five years

By Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal With Files From Postmedia News July 9, 2011

Alberta's labour market caught fire in June.

The province added a whopping 22,000 jobs in June from the previous month -the largest gain since May 2006 and the second month of growth in a row, according to Statistics Canada figures released Friday.

Because 27,600 more people were looking for work -mostly newcomers from other provinces -the unemployment rate still rose 0.2 percentage points from May to 5.6 per cent.

Besides robust June job numbers, the provincial labour market also passed a milestone in June, going from recovery mode into growth mode.

"We can now say that we have fully recovered all the jobs lost in the 2009 recession," said Alberta Employment and Immigration spokesman Darrell Winwood. "We're ahead of the game."

From October 2008 to July 2009, Alberta lost 73,600 jobs. From July 2009 to last month, Alberta has now regained 76,800 jobs.

"It has taken quite some time, but employment in Alberta has finally returned to its pre-recession glory," ATB Financial economist Dan Sumner said.

"Although economists never like to make a big deal about one month of data, the trend in the Alberta job market is definitely positive. Moving forward, there might be some bumps in the road but with the economy in good shape, employment should continue to grind higher."

Compared with a year ago, Alberta gained 71,200 jobs, a growth rate of 3.5 per cent, more than double the national rate of 1.4 per cent.

The resurgence in Alberta's labour market has been a long time coming, Sumner said.

"Although Alberta's economy has been on fire recently and the labour market is really looking up in 2011, it has taken 32 months to regain all the jobs lost during the recession," he said. "This compares to 27 months for the country as a whole, eight in Manitoba while Saskatchewan barely lost jobs at all."

Of Alberta's job gains, 13,200 were full-time and 8,700 were parttime.

The industries in Alberta that created the most jobs from the previous month were: wholesale and retail trade, 12,200; health care and social assistance, 9,400; and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, 6,600.

Women 25 and over gained 19,100 Alberta jobs from May to June while men 25 and over gained 800. "Part of that is because of the growth in the service-producing sector," Winwood said. "More typically, those jobs go to women."

Edmonton's unemployment rate was the second-lowest among Canadian census metropolitan areas, according to Statistics Canada. The region's seasonally adjusted rate fell two percentage points from May to 5.4 per cent. That put Edmonton behind only Regina, at 5.2 per cent.

The Edmonton census metropolitan area gained 3,400 jobs in June from May, and 26,400 jobs from June 2010. Edmonton's labour force grew by 2,700 people compared with May, and by 16,300 compared with June 2010. Calgary's rate of 5.6 per cent was sixth.

Nationally, Canada gained about 90 per cent more jobs than expected last month, with the biggest advances coming in the part-time sector and a hefty decline in self-employed individuals.

Economists expected employment growth of 15,000 for the month, but in fact 28,400 more people were employed, Statistics Canada said. The unemployment rate for June was 7.4 per cent, unchanged from May as more people looked for work.

It was the third straight month of job gains. There has been just one month of declines in the last nine, and that was a relatively minor loss of 1,500 in March.

"The report provides some encouraging news that labour markets continue to strengthen, with the employment gain in June building further on May's 22,300 increase and the 58,300 surge in April," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist with RBC Economics Research.

Craig Alexander, chief economist with TD Economics, said the result were "surprisingly strong, given the recent economic activity data which suggest that Canadian economic growth has slowed."

There were 3,300 more people working to produce goods in June, while far more -25,100 -found service work. There were job gains in transportation and warehousing, declines in professional, scientific and technical services, while most other sectors were relatively unchanged, Statistics Canada said. Full-time employment grew by 7,300, while a more robust gain of 21,100 was seen among part-time workers.

"While the details of the release may not be as impressive as the sturdy headline gain, there is no denying that the Canadian job market continues to make impressive progress," said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets.

Porter noted that 192,000 jobs have been created in the first half of this year, the lion's share of yearto-year employment growth, which last month stood at 238,000.

More people were working for others last month and fewer worked for themselves. Public-sector employment grew by 50,700 people in June, private-sector employment was up 21,900, while 44,200 fewer were self-employed.

Emanuella Enenajoran, economist with CIBC World Markets, said this suggests "an improvement in the overall quality of employment," though she noted that temporary census work was likely responsible for some of the public-sector gains.

Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia saw the strongest job gains in June.

Fewer were employed in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, while the situation was relatively stable in other parts of the country.

bmah@edmontonjournal.com twitter.com/mahspace
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal - quoted here - http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Glory+days+return+Alberta+jobs/5077097/story.html

posted in News at Sat, 06 Aug 2011 14:55:49 -0600



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