Alberta’s unemployment rate has fallen below the national mark for the first time since 2015

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Job growth in Alberta plummeted in July, with the province adding just 300 net new jobs, according to Statistics Canada.

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Its latest monthly job survey shows a jump in full-time jobs was offset by the loss of 14,700 part-time jobs across the province.

The change was enough to push the provincial unemployment rate below the national mark for the first time since 2015, falling to 4.8 percent. Calgary saw its rate drop to 5.0 percent from 5.5, while Edmonton fell almost a full percentage point to 5.1 percent.

“An additional 15,000 full-time jobs is positive news. Both Edmonton and Calgary had strong months, with Edmonton seeing more than 3,000 new jobs and Calgary seeing more than 12,000,” Alberta Jobs Minister Doug Schweitzer said in a statement. Schweitzer, who previously said he would not seek re-election, announced Friday night that he had resigned from the cabinet and will leave the UCP caucus at the end of August.

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“I am confident that our work to diversify and strengthen our economy will continue to bring more opportunity to more Albertans in the months to come,” he said.

The opposition NDP said the government must do more to boost consumer confidence as inflation pressures mount.

“Families are struggling to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and cover their monthly bills,” financial critic Shannon Phillips said Friday in response to a Conference Board of Canada report that showed consumer confidence fell nearly 14 points. in July, after a 20-point drop in June.

It found that less than 10 percent of Albertans feel secure about their future finances.

“This UCP government is making a bad situation worse by racking up even more monthly spending on Albertans,” said Phillips.

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“More income taxes, more property taxes, more tuition fees, more interest on student debt, more for utilities, and more for auto insurance. They are all things that are under the control of the provincial government and the UCP has chosen to make them more expensive”.

Inflation rose to 8.4 percent in Alberta in June, driven by the cost of fuel and utilities.

Finance Minister Jason Nixon said the government has already taken action by pausing collection of the 13-cent provincial fuel tax and offering electricity rebates and future natural gas price rebates.

“There are many reasons to be optimistic about Alberta’s economy,” Nixon said in a statement, citing the province’s unemployment rate, population growth and economic forecasts.

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Nationwide, the economy lost 31,000 jobs in July, marking the second consecutive month of job losses, according to StatsCan, as the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at a record low of 4.9 percent. .

Their survey reflects market conditions from July 10-16.

Canada’s job market remains exceptionally tight, with more than a million job openings across the country. The unemployment rate is the lowest on record with comparable data going back to 1976.

Statistics Canada says that despite labor shortages, there is no evidence of an increase in the proportion of people leaving or changing jobs.

With archives from The Canadian Press

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