Alberta is only province in Canada that continues to shed jobs - and it's also the only province that didn't increase spending to deal with the recession.
It's no coincidence that Alberta is the only province in Canada that continues to shed jobs, says the president of the province's largest union group.
"Governments across the country and around the world have been following the advice of economists who recommend public spending increases to offset declining investment and job creation in the private sector," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"Stimulative spending has helped keep people working in other provinces - and it's helping to resuscitate the economies in places like the United States and Europe. But the Alberta government continues to cling to the nonsensical notion that the best way to deal with an unemployment problem is to lay more people off."
Figures released today from Statistics Canada show the unemployment rate in Alberta has risen to 7.5 per cent - its highest level since 1996. There are 87,200 fewer Albertans working in full-time jobs today than there were at the top of the pre-recession boom (October 2008) - even though province's working age population has increased by 99,000.
Since the recession began, McGowan points out that about 22,000 jobs have disappeared in construction; 31,000 in manufacturing; 22,000 in engineering and technical occupations; 33,000 in trade and about 7,500 in oil and gas.
"The recession has had similar effects on private sector employment in other provinces," says McGowan. "But in other provinces, those losses have been offset by the jobs created in both the public and private sectors by increases in public spending."
McGowan says that, in other provinces, the investment of public dollars kept people working through the worst of the recession and is now fueling an economic resurgence as the private sector gets back on its feet.
"But here in Alberta, the lack of stimulative spending is making the recession deeper and longer than it needed to be. I guess we can call it the Alberta Disadvantage," he concluded.
Gil McGowan, President, AFL @ 780-483-3021 or 780-218-9888 (cell)