Alberta suffers major job loss in February after global oil slump

Tuesday March 17, 2015
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Mar. 17, 2015 - The number of people employed in Canadian manufacturing fell by 20,000 in February — the first decline since last August — with most of the losses occurring in Alberta and Ontario, according to a Statistics Canada report.

The unemployment data shows the consequences of the global oil slump have started to seep into the country’s labour market, washing away jobs in crude-rich provinces and pushing up the national unemployment rate, noted The Canadian Press.

The jobless rate crept up from its 6.6 per cent mark in January, even though the report only registered a small, month-to-month net loss of 1,000 jobs.

The fall in crude prices also led the Bank of Canada to cut its trend-setting interest rate in January and forced Ottawa to delay its budget until at least April to give it time to assess the extent of the fallout.

Provincially, overall employment declined in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, while it increased in Quebec.

Alberta, the heart of Canada’s oil sector, suffered the biggest blow of any province on the job front. Its employment fell by 14,000 in February, pushing the unemployment rate in the province up 0.8 percentage points to 5.3 per cent, the highest since September 2011. The agency said Alberta’s natural resources sector alone shed 7,000 net positions, most of them in support activities for mining, oil and gas. The industry shed 16,900 positions overall from coast to coast.

In Nova Scotia, employment fell by 4,400 and the unemployment rate increased 0.7 percentage points to 9.1 per cent, while employment in Newfoundland and Labrador declined by 3,000 in February, bringing losses over the past 12 months to 6,900 (2.9 per cent).
 
Over in Ontario, gains in full-time employment were largely offset by declines in part-time work, leaving overall employment little changed.

Meanwhile in Quebec, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 17,000 in February and all in part-time work. In the 12 months to February, overall employment in the province increased by 44,000 or 1.1 per cent.

Employment changes in the remaining provinces were minimal between January and February.

— With files from By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

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