The government agency Statscan released a report showing that Alberta has lost more jobs last year than in any year since 1982, when the province was in the throes of a deep recession, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.
Alberta had a net loss of 19,600 jobs in 2015, up from the 14,600 job losses it estimated in early January. That was much higher than the 17,200 jobs lost in 2009 and the most since 1982, when the province shed 45,000 jobs. At that time, the province was reeling from a recession and the federally-imposed national energy program.
The figures highlight just how much damage the falling oil prices have left on the province’s economy, which has seen an estimated 40,000 jobs lost across the energy sector. The job loss numbers are also a stark contrast to 2014, when Alberta added 63,700 positions, more than half of all jobs created in Canada that year.
At the beginning of last year, crude prices were near the US$53 mark and currently are at US$31.45 a barrel.
According to a note to clients sent by the National Bank last week, “More than any province, Alberta will take the brunt of the expected drop-off in business investment.”
Last year saw Alberta’s unemployment rate steadily climb from 4.8 per cent to seven per cent as the anticipated recovery in oil prices failed to materialize.
A research note published by TD Bank said it expects unemployment in Alberta to reach 7.5 per cent by mid 2016. The second half of the year could then allow for modest growth and a slowing down in unemployment in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
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