Prince Albert sees slight drop in job numbers

Herald file photo. The City of Prince Albert is looking to increase housing starts by offering 15 per cent discounts on 66 city owned lots in February and March. The discount is an extension of a program that began last year to help boost the economy, but there are concerns it could hinder development in the future.

Prince Albert a slight dip in the number of people working in March of this year, but more residents continue to seek work, the latest numbers from Statistics Canada reveal.

The monthly job data shows that an estimated 20,900 people are employed in the city as of the end of March 2019, down from an estimated 21,000 the year prior.

At the same time, about 500 people have started looking for work, adding them to the number counted in the labour force.

With fewer people working and more looking for work, the unemployment rate, year-over-year, unadjusted for seasonal factors, has jumped 2.4 percentage points to 9.1 per cent.

The participation rate, though, which measures the percentage of people working or actively seeking work, has also gone up, increasing from 65.8 per cent to 67.3 per cent.

The employment rate has fallen from 61.4 per cent to 61.1 per cent. Prince Albert’s estimated population hasn’t changed.

Saskatchewan saw employment increase by 3,900 in March and the unemployment rate decline by 0.9 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, its lowest since August 2015.

Year-over-year employment gains in the province totalled 9,300, or 1.6 per cent.

Regionally, employment in all regions in Saskatchewan grew year-over-year except in Yorkton-Melville, which shed 1,200 jobs and Prince Albert and Northern, which lost about 3,300 jobs.

 Prince Albert and Northern have the highest unemployment of Statistics Canada regions in Saskatchewan, with 7.1 per cent, up from 6.3 per cent at this time last year. The region has the highest participation rate outside of the Regina-Moose Mountain and Saskatoon-Biggar regions.

Nationally, Canada lost 7,200 jobs, the first drop in employment in seven months. The unemployment rate remained steady at 5.8 per cent.