A recent report from the City of Edmonton’s Economic Indicators shows that the Capital City is benefiting from the economy’s upswing. Last year closed with a positive rise in employment positions in the part-time sectors (construction, education, logistics, etc.), a rise that offset job loss positions in manufacturing and professional services. In fact, 2017 closed with a drop in unemployment from 7.8 per cent (November) to 7.5 per cent (December), which mimics the same unemployment rate drop (7.8 percent to 7.5 per cent) in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) during the same time period.
These statistics were reflected in the overall health of Canada’s employment market, which closed 2017 with a rise of 79,000 positions, driven by the needs of the part-time sector. Education, logistics and natural resources concentrated the areas of growth nationally. Also, Canada wide, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent in November and 5.7 per cent in December, which represents the lowest unemployment rate since record keeping of the sort began in 1976.
The upswing in Edmonton and across Canada is good news. The Edmonton CMA was hit hard by rampant job loss in 2016, losses that stemmed from a sharp decrease in oil prices.
“Gains in the Edmonton region’s full-time employment since January 2017 suggest employers are now more confident about adding to their workforce,” John Rose, City of Edmonton chief economist, wrote in the January edition of Economic Indicators. “As well, with the year’s employment growth concentrated in full-time positions, average weekly wages grew 2.7 per cent year over year. Consequently, workers are seeing good gains in their income, which will help to boost consumer spending going forward. In the first quarter of 2018, employment in Edmonton should see growth in the manufacturing, professional services and logistics sectors. However, the unemployment rate is unlikely to move much lower than the 7.5 per cent seen in December as the local labour force continues to expand and individuals, discouraged by very difficult employment conditions in the second half of 2016, return to the active labour force.”
In further great news for the Edmonton CMA, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that, as we headed into 2018, inflation was slowing down. The CPI is a measure of what consumers pay for an average basket of goods, such as groceries, clothing, rent and mortgages. The drop is attributed to lower gasoline costs.
From November to December 2017, Alberta’s inflation rate dropped from 2.5 per cent to 2.0 per cent, and nationally, the rate reduced from 2.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent.
“The recent rise in the Canadian dollar this year will moderate the cost of imported consumer items, such as food, clothing and consumer electronics. Consequently, inflation in Edmonton should return to around 1.5 per cent over the coming months and then rise toward 2 per cent as the local economy gains momentum through 2018,” quotes Economic Indicators.
While Economic Indicators reflects current trends and relies upon sound data, economic situations are fluid, and therefore the trends cannot be considered absolute. However these trends are having a positive impact in the region, and all signs point to a sustained upswing for the Edmonton CMA.