The Christmas season wasn’t so kind to Albertans this year.
During the month of December the oil laden region lost 16,900 jobs across the province.
Hit hard from a drop in oil prices, Alberta lost 36,200 full-time positions this December but came out with a net loss of nearly 17,000 thanks to a seasonal gain in part-time work.
Over the whole of 2018, employment in the province rose 0.9% which translated into an additional 21,600 jobs.
The rest of Canada is at record low unemployment
In contrast, the rest of Canada seems to be doing quite well in terms of employment. Unemployment clocked in this December at a record low of 5.6% across the country.
The Canadian economy overall managed to add 9,300 net new jobs in 2018. However, similar to the Alberta situation, all of the gains came from part-time work while full-time positions decreased by 19,000.
There is concern in Alberta that despite the slow growth of 2018, this December loss could mark the start of a new downward trend.
Could be a sign of tough times ahead
Richard Truscott, vice-president for B.C. and Alberta for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told CBC News that he is “seeing a huge drop in small business confidence in the last few weeks.”
“Often that’s a leading indicator of what’s to come in the rest of the economy.”
“For the first time in quite some time, more business owners are saying they’re going to lay off people than are hiring. Typically in Alberta, we don’t see that very much,”Truscott said.
This latest round of economic news, following the recent slate of pro pipeline rallies across Alberta, seems to grant further legitimacy to many Albertan’s claims that the federal government is failing to support their core industry of oil and gas.
While this anger and discontent brewing in Alberta right now may help United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney get elected, it could prove damaging to the electoral chances of both Premier Notley and, to a lesser extent, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.