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Calgary now has 2nd-highest unemployment rate in Canada — and highest labour-force participation

As Calgary’s population booms, its labour force continues to reach new heights, while the unemployment rate grows. 

There were 942,600 employed people in the Calgary metropolitan area in May, according to the latest estimates released Friday by Statistics Canada.

That’s up from 935,300 in April, and marks an all-time high for the city.

The estimated number of unemployed people, meanwhile, grew to 83,500 in May, up from 77,900 in April.

The number of people not in the labour force (that is, neither working nor looking for work) has also been on the decline in Calgary; it’s fallen every month so far in 2024.

The unemployment rate jumped to 8.1 per cent in May, up from 7.7 per cent the month before.

Calgary now has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, out of 35 metropolitan areas studied by Statistics Canada.

At the same time, Calgary also has the highest labour-force participation rate of all those cities, with 72.8 per cent of the population at least 15 years of age either working or looking for work.

Statistics Canada measures and reports its employment figures for cities as a three-month rolling average.

Across the entire province, the number of employed people declined slightly.

“Employment in Alberta decreased by 20,000 (-0.8 per cent ) in May,” Statistics Canada said in a release. “This was the first significant decline in employment since September 2023.”

Nationally, employment levels were relatively flat while the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 per cent.

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