Medicine Hat unemployment rate hits double digits in March

By Charles Lefebvre
April 5, 2019 - 12:43pm Updated: April 5, 2019 - 5:37pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB — The unemployment rate for Medicine Hat hit double digits in March, according to the most recent numbers from Statistics Canada.

According to the March labour force survey, Medicine Hat’s unemployment rate in March was at 11 per cent, up from 8.9 per cent in February.

Statistics Canada always cautions against month-to-month comparisons in the same year for Medicine Hat, noting its smaller sample size, preferring year-to-year- comparisons for each month to observe trends.

“With unadjusted data, one cannot make month-to-month comparisons since different seasonal factors influence each month,” the report reads.

One year ago at this time, Medicine Hat’s unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent, according to the report.

Lahouria Yssaad, an analyst with Statistics Canada, says the number of people working dropped 5,100 from nearly 38,000 people in March 2018.

“The decline is not statistically significant,” she said over the phone from Ottawa. “In order to be statistically significant, the decline would have to have been equal or above 5,700. Here, we don’t have a decline of 5,700, we have a decline of 5,100.”

Yssaad adds due to the smaller size of Medicine Hat, they do not have a breakdown about which industries are responsible for the unemployment changes.

The province of Alberta saw a decrease in its unemployment rate in March, falling to 6.9 per cent from 7.3 per cent in February. Last year at the same time, the unemployment rate sat at 6.7 per cent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 per cent, the same as last month, even though Statisitics Canada reported employment dropped by 7,200 net jobs.


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