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Alberta and B.C. suffer massive job losses

A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that Alberta and B.C. have lost 36,000 jobs in November alone.
Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC

A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that Alberta has lost 18,000 jobs in November alone. The decline in jobs was across numerous industries but was affected most in wholesale and retail trade, according to the Labour Force Survey.

Total employment had seen little dramatic change over the past decade. The unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percent to 7.2 percent as early as August but has since rebounded to 6.6 percent in September and 6.7 percent in October according to StatsCan.

This isn’t just affecting Alberta alone, across the country 38,400 full-time jobs and 32,800 part-time jobs were lost in November. Canada’s overall unemployment rate went up 0.4 percent since October being the biggest one-month hike since 2009.

Manufacturing employment hasn’t been as affected over the past years but the natural resources sector saw about 25,000 lost jobs or 7.2 percent. Alberta and British Columbia taking the biggest hit. British Columbia lost 18,000 jobs in November.

The services-producing sector had a decrease in employment of about 25, 000 workers primarily in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta this November. Men between 25 to 54 and women aged 55 and older were most affected.

Calgary’s housing market is showing the fallout of this increase in unemployment. A decline of 2.2 per cent for the average new home since July 2018 according to the New Housing Price Index.

Jim Sparrow, a long-time realtor in Calgary told the CBC that “the resale prices have been falling for almost five years since the price of oil fell.  We’ve sold fewer detached single family homes year to date than we did last year.” said Sparrow.

Even with the decline in prices, it’s the slowest year in Calgary real estate in 23 years.  This has led to a decrease in the building of new homes as well.

“Buyers are really hard to find these days for homes in pretty much any price range,” said Sparrow.

Sparrow feels the oil and gas industries are struggling and is the reason for the downward shift in Calgary’s housing market.

“There’s a lot of people that aren’t impacted by the price of oil. But ultimately, I think they will be because Calgary still runs on oil and gas,” he said.

Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie told the CBC, “When you take this many people out of the industry … they have no choice but to leave the province if they want to make a living.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any dramatic change in demand next year unless there’s a shift in economic conditions.” she said.

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Quinn Patrick
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