Job numbers up in Prince Albert

Herald file photo.

More people in Prince Albert are working and more people are looking for work than this time last year.

The latest job numbers from Statistics Canada show that by the end of November this year, about 1,700 more people are either working or job hunting than were last year.

About 1,100 more people are working and about 600 more looking for work than at the end of November 2017.

The increase in both metrics is behind a spike in the participation, unemployment and employment rates.

The unemployment and employment rates are calculated by looking at the number of people working or looking for work. Those who are neither working nor job hunting are not counted as unemployed. The total of people either working or looking is reflected in the participation rate.

The participation rate for Prince Albert at the end of November 2017 was 64.8 per cent. This year, it went up to 69.6 per cent.

The local unemployment rate rose by a little over two percentage points to 10.1 per cent, while the employment rate went up about three percentage points to 62.9 per cent.

Those numbers aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors.

Nationally, employment went by 94,000 in November, driven by gains in full-time work. Canada’s unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 per cent, the lowest since data became available in 1976.

Employment went up in six provinces. The biggest gains were in Quebec and Alberta. Those gains came in professional, scientific and technical services, health care and social assistance, construction, business, building and other support services, transportation, warehousing and agriculture sectors. Fewer people worked in information, culture and recreation. Employment went up in the private sector and changed little in the public or self-employed sectors.

One of the sectors with the biggest gains nationwide was the cannabis sector. Across Canada, 10,400 people were employed in cannabis-related jobs, an increase of 7,500, or 266 per cent, from 12 months prior. Employment in the cannabis industry went up throughout most of 2018. The majority, 58 per cent, work in agriculture, where workers perform work such as bud trimming. The average hourly wage in cannabis-related jobs was $29.58, just under $3 higher than the national average.

In Saskatchewan, there were 5,500 more people employed in November. The unemployment rate declined by 0.7 percentage points to 5.5 per cent, the second decrease in three months. Compared with last year, the province gained 15,000 jobs, an increase of 2.7 per cent.

In a press release, the provincial government touted the increase in year-over-year jobs as the highest in Western Canada at 2.9 per cent, ranking second nationally behind PEI.

“The fourth consecutive month of year-over-year job increases shows a positive trend for our economy,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a press release.

“In spite of headwinds that our economy faces from outside of our borders, job creators are choosing Saskatchewan as the best province in Western Canada to invest and create jobs in. Our government will continue to stand up for our province’s economy and resource sector to ensure further growth in order for Saskatchewan to remain the best place in the nation to invest, work, play and to raise a family.”