June job stats remain unchanged

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.

Bianca Bharti, Daily Herald

Job statistics in the city remained largely unchanged year over year in June, according to numbers released by Statistics Canada on Friday.

Prince Albert’s employment rate, not seasonally adjusted, decreased by 0.1 percentage points, going from 59.7 per cent in June of 2017 to 59.6 per cent.

Unemployment also decreased, going from 9.4 per cent in June 2017 to 9.3 per cent last month. The city added an estimated 100 jobs year-over-year.

“The facts are clear,” said councillor Evert Botha. “We are stagnant right now and we need to look at longterm strategy to instill confidence so Prince Albert is considered a place for business.”

Botha said there are additional factors to take into consideration when assessing the numbers. “People retire, they don’t enter the job market immediately or people just give up on looking for a job.”

Statistics for the province show growth, contrasting against city numbers. Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, dropped to 6.3 per cent for June 2018 and its employment rate was 64.6 per cent. The Sask. Party touted the month-to-month addition of 8,300 jobs, the highest increase since 2012.

Across the country, the unemployment rate sat at six per cent for June. The nation added 32,000 jobs last month.

“We have to remain positive and find the opportunities to continue to grow,” Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce CEO, Elise Hildebrandt, said.

She mentioned the amenities the city has to offer, such as short commute times, great coffee shops and the university. However, Botha said more needs to be done.

“We need to see how we can get more big development in our community that move beyond strip malls and retail,” he said. “(We need to) start attracting more knowledge industries, businesses that create decent jobs.”