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Unemployment grew in November in Alberta, as 18,000 people lost their jobs

Edmonton now has the highest unemployment rate of any major Canadian city while the number of Alberta's full-time jobs also fell over the last month, according to StatsCan data. 

Edmonton's unemployment rate in December rose by 0.3 per cent, up to 8.0 per cent, while Calgary's jobless rate sat at 7.1 per cent after a 0.2 per cent increase over the same period.

Edmonton and Calgary's unemployment rates rank as the first and fifth-highest among major Canadian cities for last month.

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Alberta's provincial jobless rate saw a small decrease of 0.2 per cent, down to 7.0 per cent in December. 

But the province also shed 1,000 jobs across the province in December, including 23,600 full-time positions. Those losses were offset by 22,600 new part-time jobs created that month as well. The province's labour force shrank by 7,500 people in December as well. 

Over 2019, Alberta's employment remained largely the same, with a 0.2 per cent fall over the calendar year. 

Those numbers come amid what StatsCan indicates was a largely better than expected month of December across Canada. The country gained more than 35,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent. 

'CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC'

Despite the largely flat jobs rate to round out 2019, the provincial government says it's "cautiously optmistic" that Alberta will see renewed job-creation and growth in the coming months. 

"These numbers reinforce the importance of staying focused on job creation and ensuring that Alberta has a competitive business environment that creates jobs for Alberta families," a government spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News. 

"Our government will be relentless in our advocacy with the federal government and our partners in Confederation and not rest until we see critical pipeline projects built."

The Opposition New Democrats pointed to the numbers as proof the government's corporate tax cut outlined in the last provincial budget wasn't working.

"This is another disastrous month for jobs and, unfortunately, it’s Albertans who are suffering,” NDP economic critic Deron Bilous wrote in a release. 

"All this is happening as TMX is under construction. This Premier’s plan is failing Albertans. Period."