Postmedia file photo.
Alberta saw relatively stagnant job numbers in February, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.
Overall about 3,800 new jobs were created, factoring in public, private and self-employed workers.
The public sector had a boost of 11,500 new jobs, while the private sector saw a dip of 7,000 compared to January.
The unemployment rate rose to 7.3 per cent, marking an increase of 0.5 per cent from last month.
“Obviously we’re discouraged when that happens,” said Premier Rachel Notley at a news conference Friday, touting the modest increase in jobs month-over-month. “We’re continuing to attract workers from across the country to Alberta and as a result there’s a net bump in the unemployment rate.”
The province couldn’t provide a breakdown of where public sector hires happened in February, noting Statistics Canada uses a three-month rolling average and monthly fluctuations are common.
The report Friday follows two months of declining jobs with 16,000 and 17,000 fewer people working in January and and December respectively.
The picture is better nationally.
Across Canada there were nearly 56,000 jobs added in February, with the bulk created in Ontario. The number of people searching for work held steady with an unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent.
Calgary’s unemployment rate is reported at 7.6 per cent compared to Edmonton at 7 per cent.
University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe told Postmedia last month the hardest hit demographic has been young men between the ages of 15 and 24 due to jobs lost during the recession that haven’t returned.
The UCP slammed the province for the latest job numbers.
“This is the seventh of the last nine months when unemployment has gone up in Alberta,” said UCP Leader Jason Kenney Friday.
“Calgary now has the highest unemployment rate of any city in Canada … Edmonton has the third-highest urban unemployment rate in the country.”
Kenney boasted that his recent platform promise to cut corporate tax to eight per cent from 12 per cent by 2022 would boost jobs.
“The job creation tax cut is projected … to create at least 55,000 additional jobs,” he said.
Notley has yet to call a provincial election, but could have dropped the writ as early as Feb. 1 launching a 28-day campaign period. An election is expected before May 31.