More out of work: StatsCan

With the latest Statistics Canada figure showing Alberta's unemployment rate has risen to 7.5%, the province's largest union group says the numbers reflect the Tories' lack of stimulus spending.

Despite little change in Alberta's employment in March, the unemployment rate rose 0.6 points to 7.5% as more people entered the labour force, according to StatsCan. The agency March's rate is the highest since 1996, and Alberta is the only province with an employment decline since July last year.

"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," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour in a press release.

McGowan said there are 87,200 fewer Albertans working in full-time jobs today than there were at the top of the pre-recession boom around October 2008, even though province's working age population has increased by 99,000.

Since the recession began, McGowan figures 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," McGowan said in the statement.

McGowan said in other provinces, the investment of public dollars kept people working through the worst of the recession and is now fuelling an economic resurgence as the private sector gets back on its feet. However, the lack of stimulus spending is making the recession deeper and longer than it needed to be in Alberta.

Fort McMurray Today, Mon Apr 12 2010
Byline: Carol Christian

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