Alberta added 23,400 jobs in October, but unemployment still very high

Alberta added approximately 23,400 jobs in October, but the province's labour minister says there is more work to be done to help the economy rebound.

While Alberta's labour minister is happy with the province's job growth, many industries are still suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada released the latest details Friday, which took into account the fact that a number of Canadian provinces had imposed restrictions due to the virus.

"Unlike the widespread economic shutdown implemented in March and April, these measures were targeted at businesses where the risk of COVID transmission is thought to be greater, including indoor restaurants and bars and recreational facilities," StatCan said in the report.

This meant a significant drop in job numbers in accommodation and food services industries, particularly in Quebec.

In Alberta, StatCan says approximately 23,000 were added, the fifth such increase over the past six months.

Doug Schweitzer, Alberta's minister of jobs, economy and innovation, says while the improvement is good to see, "there is still a lot of work to be done."

"Alberta is on the path to recovery," he said in a release. "With five consecutive months of growth, the addition of 23,400 jobs in October means that our province has now recovered 258,400 jobs that were lost during the pandemic."

Alberta's unemployment rate for October 2020 is 10.7 per cent, a full percentage point lower than in September.

Approximately 5,000 jobs were lost in Alberta's agriculture sector, but that deficit was buoyed by gains in the other goods producing industries. Natural resources saw an increase of 4,000 positions and construction witnessed about 1,700 new positions.

In Alberta's service sector, approximately 2,000 jobs were lost in the educational services area but the biggest loss was in the information, culture and recreation sector (-7,200 positions).

Meanwhile, Calgary's unemployment rate dropped slightly from September to 11.3 per cent while Edmonton's is now sitting at 12 per cent.

The agency also said that nation-wide, 84,000 jobs were added, which was only about a 0.5 per cent increase, down from an average of 2.7 per cent each month since May.

Canada's unemployment rate, 8.9 per cent, was little changed from September.