Alberta still feeling recession’s impacts ‘unnecessarily’

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is expressing frustration over the province's "ongoing jobs crisis" while the rest of Canada experiences increases in full-time employment.

Alberta's unemployment rate in June was 6.7%, and the province dropped 9,600 full-time jobs between May and June 2010.

"Alberta is clearly still feeling the impacts of the recession - unnecessarily," AFL president Gil McGowan said in a news release.

"Alberta was one of the only jurisdictions in the industrialized world to refuse to invest in economic stimulus.

"The result is we are lagging behind in recovery, especially where it counts the most, which is full-time employment."

AFL cited figures to illustrate the province's current labour challenges:

Youth unemployment (15-24) is at 11.7 per cent, and aboriginal off-reserve unemployment remains at 15%, unchanged from a year ago.

Social assistance caseloads have gone up by 50 per cent to over 40,000 cases, the highest level since 1997.

In Alberta's 2010 budget, the government cut training programs by $23 million.

"Even business leaders know our economy is still fragile," McGowan said, pointing to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business report that shows a three-point drop in confidence levels among owners of Alberta's small and medium-sized business.

Daily Commercial news and Construction Record, Fri July 9 2010

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