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To provide a balanced perspective on labour market trends, Calgary Economic Development summarizes trends for the Calgary region each quarter. Stats can be deceptive; we want you to have the most comprehensive information available in an easy to understand format that you can immediately apply to your business.

Here are five key findings from the Q1 2018 labour market trends update:

1. The unemployment rates in the Calgary region rose to 8.2% in Q1 2018 compared to 7.5% in Q4 2017, but jobs were gained in Q1 2018.

The unemployment rate is an often misunderstood stat.  A percentage increase is often viewed at negative, so you need to view the overall context. In Q1 2018, there was a gain of 8,800 jobs in the Calgary region with the labour force increasing by 16,800 – both positive indicators. The rise in the unemployment rate reflects the difference between these two numbers, but overall, the momentum is positive.

2. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, the Calgary region gained 22,800 jobs and the unemployment rate decreased from 9.2% to 8.2%.

Had the labour force size remained the same size during this period, the unemployment rate of Q1 2018 would have been 6.7%. As mentioned in the first point, an increase in the labour market is a positive indicator.

3. As of Q1, 2018, Calgary had the highest labour force participation rate of any major metro area in Canada.

With a labour force participation rate of 74.4%, Calgary is nine percentage points higher than the national average. The labour force participation shows the number of people employed or looking for work as a percentage of the workforce population (15 – 64 years old).

4. Out of the six major metropolitan regions of Canada, Calgary is the third fastest growing region YoY.

The full-time employment growth rate was 4.8% (behind first place Ottawa and second place Toronto). The Calgary region is far ahead of the national full-time annual employment growth rate of 2.3%.

5. On a YoY basis, the key industries that experienced job gains and losses may surprise you.

Top job gains by industry were:

  • Construction (+ 10,900 jobs)
  • Manufacturing (+ 5,200 jobs)
  • Oil and gas (+ 4,000 jobs)
  • Financial services and real estate (+ 1,000 jobs)

Top job losses by industry were:

  • Professional, scientific and technical services ( - 12,800 jobs)
  • Health care ( - 1,900 jobs)
  • Transportation and warehousing ( - 500 jobs)

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For more information, view the full 2018 Q1 labour market trends update.

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