Economist: Alberta recovery on its way

One of the industry’s leading economists says employment data does not fall in line with Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s recent statements, and recovery could be on the way for Alberta.

“The losses in Canadian employment in April contrast with Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s comments last week that non-energy companies were starting to take over from the weakness in the oil patch,” Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres wrote in her latest economic report.

“Oil and gas producers have cut back on new building projects this year, while the retail industry has been battered by store closures at Target Corp. and Best Buy Canada (via their Future Shop division). Moreover, another 18,900 people left the labour force.”

The employment data was released Friday, and it indicated the largest drop in part-time work in four years, which Cooper attributes to the economic damage done by the collapse in oil prices.

Employment fell by 20,000 jobs. Luckily, the loss of part-time jobs was offset by an increase in full-time jobs, leaving the unemployment rate steady at 6.8 per cent for the third month in a row.

There was, however, some good news for Alberta-based investors

“The good news is that oil prices have recently risen to over $60 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate, but are still down from more than $100 last year,” Cooper wrote.

“Prices have crept up in recent weeks from lows of below $45 a barrel.”

Employment actually rose in Alberta and Newfoundand last month – the two provinces hit the hardest by the oil declines.

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