Unemployment in June dropped locally but spiked across Alberta


The census area that includes the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo area saw unemployment drop, more people working and the labour force expand last month. The rest of Alberta wasn’t so lucky as unemployment rose, although these numbers were collected before the province lifted most COVID-19 restrictions on July 1.

Friday data from Statistics Canada reflects Alberta’s second reopening stage. This phase eased restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining and faith centres. Recreation centres, movie theatres and schools were allowed to reopen.

Local unemployment was at 6.6 per cent, a 4.9 per cent drop from the June 2020 rate of 11.5 per cent. The labour force expanded by 2,400 people from the same period last year. Last month’s part-time employment added 3,100 new hires from June 2020, with full-time employment adding 2,800 positions.

The sector covering the oilsands saw no year-over-year changes in June, but 300 positions were lost from May 2021.

The biggest year-over-year increases were found in transportation and warehousing (2,600 new positions), education (2,400 new positions), construction (1,200 new positions), scientific and technical services (700 new positions), and recreation (500 new positions). The biggest job losses between June 2020 and 2021 came from public administration, which shed 1,200 positions.

The biggest increases from May 2021 came from retail (600 new positions) and accommodations and food services (400 new positions). Education and recreation each added 200 new positions. There were few losses from May 2021. The sectors covering real estate and finance, and labelled “other services” each lost 100 positions.

Provincially, Alberta lost 37,000 full-time jobs in June and youth unemployment topped the rest of Canada. Unemployment for those between the ages of 15 and 24 hit 18.1 per cent in June, or 7,100 positions. Overall youth employment increased in the rest of Canada last month.

Alberta’s unemployment rose to 9.3 per cent after previously dropping to 8.7 per cent in May, the lowest since the pandemic began in March 2020. Part-time jobs in the province increased by 9.1 per cent from May, or 36,800 jobs.

Canada’s overall unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent, with most employment gains found in part-time work.