Alberta gains more than 20,000 jobs in January during stricter COVID-19 measures


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Jobs in Edmonton went up by 7,800 in January but unemployment increased nearly as much by 5,500, which raised the city’s unemployment rate to 11.9 per cent, a 0.5 increase from December.

In contrast, Calgary lost 8,000 jobs in January, raising its unemployment rate to 10.6 per cent, a minor change from December’s 10.5 per cent.

Felicia Mutheardy, the City of Edmonton’s acting chief corporate economist, said this is the seventh consecutive month where the city reported job gains. She said the growth shows employers have adapted to the pandemic but she’s concerned about its sustainability.

“There are just so many unknowns,” Mutheardy said. “We have come to a point where we would like more detailed information on Edmonton on what’s going on in terms of business sentiment, conditions and those kinds of things. Unfortunately, that data isn’t available so we’re relying on the labour force data.”

She said looking at the data more closely shows full-time employment’s recovery being uneven while part-time work has bounced back quickly in comparison.

Janet Riopel, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, said in an email that worsening unemployment figures underline the need to get the pandemic under control.

“Alarmingly, Edmonton’s unemployment rate remains among the highest in the country,” she said. “Getting people back to work must be our No. 1 priority and, until we can reduce our infection and hospitalization rates, businesses will face increasing hardships.”

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February 7, 2021 |

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