“For the first time in three decades, Alberta’s annual average unemployment rate was above the national number for a third consecutive year in 2018 (6.7 per cent versus 5.8 per cent). The last time the annual unemployment rate was higher in Alberta than in the country as a whole was in 1988 (8.0 per cent versus 7.8 per cent),” said a report released on Monday by ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team.
“As was the case in 1986-1988, troubles facing our oil patch explain the high rates of unemployment that have been plaguing Alberta over the last three years. Unfortunately, ongoing pipeline capacity constraints are likely to keep Alberta’s unemployment rate unusually high in 2019 and 2020. On the bright side, the unemployment rate did come down in 2018 compared to where it was in 2016 and 2017.”
ATB said Calgary and Edmonton have endured unemployment rates above the national average for the last three years. Calgary’s unemployment rate in 2018 was 7.9 per cent compared to 6.5 per cent in Edmonton.
“Outside Calgary and Edmonton, the unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent last year, but the rate in specific communities will vary depending on local economic conditions,” said ATB.