Statistics Canada reports that thousands of jobs in Alberta disappeared last month but many more were gained in other parts of the country too.
January’s Labour Force Survey shows that Canada enjoyed a boost of about 67,000 jobs, mostly in the 15 to 24 age bracket.
That increase was enjoyed in six provinces, with increases in Ontario and Quebec leading the pack.
Unfortunately, the report also says employment declined in Alberta and Saskatchewan and didn’t show much improvement at all in B.C. or Prince Edward Island.
As a result, the unemployment rate in Alberta grew to 6.8 percent, while Calgary’s dropped only slightly to 7.3 percent.
“It was a really disappointing job report here in Alberta and, on top of it, it comes from an also disappointing job report from December,” said ATB chief economist Todd Hirsch. “So we’ve had two months in a row of almost 15,000 jobs shed each month.”
Those losses make up almost the full amount of jobs that were created over the past 12 months.
It’s those statistics that helped convince 32-year-old Chris Turner to pursue more education to make himself more employable on the job market.
“I just got out of my career working in the retail industry,” he says. “I wanted something different, something new. I wanted a new challenge and I really like getting educated in many different ways.”
Turner says a lot has changed since the last time he wrote a resume.
“How you’re sending in your resume; it’s mostly all electronically. All those old norms and rules that you would do have changed for me as well. Learning the new steps and what’s more modern is really important for me.”
Karae White, who teaches a resume building course at Mount Royal University, says there has been a consistent number of students that sign up for the class every semester.
“In my perfect world, every student would get it. They don’t all think they need it, so there’s never enough.”
White says it’s simpler to get a job in Alberta than many people think.
“We have this perspective that oil and gas are the only jobs out there and I understand that because my husband has worked in that industry, but there are really many, many other jobs in a variety of different types of industries.”
She says that there is still a disconnect between employers and new hires and one of the things she tries to do with students is a lot of networking events.
“Bringing employer panels in so they can talk to the students about what they’re really looking for and if anybody has a chance to do that, it’s just eye opening about what they have to say. From their perspective, you just understand things so much better.”
As for what the future holds for Chris Turner, he’s pretty optimistic.
“I think that there is a lot of unique opportunities that will emerge as there is a new workforce that comes out over the next few years. For me personally, I want to gain a new, different experience each summer so that I can not only find out where I want to go but I can also expand my portfolio rather than be a resume with one job on it.”
According to the Statistics Canada report, Newfound and Labrador still has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 11.4 percent while B.C. has the lowest at 4.7 percent.
Canada’s national unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in January.
(With files from Chris Epp and CTVNews.ca)