Statistics Canada released June jobs numbers on Friday, and Edmonton posted the highest unemployment rate of any major Canadian city.
Edmonton’s jobless rate sat at 15.7% for June, up from 13.6% in May.
The only part of Canada with a higher unemployment rate is rural Newfoundland and Labrador (the province’s capital, St. John’s, posted a lower unemployment rate than Edmonton).
Alberta’s largest city, Calgary, is only slightly better than Edmonton with 15.6% unemployment. Overall, 14.8% of Albertans are looking for work but can’t find any.
Before the pandemic, Edmonton’s February unemployment figure was 7.8%. Four months into the economy-stopping coronavirus pandemic, that figure has doubled.
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Nationally, employment figures were slightly better in June compared to May. Statistics Canada noted recovery after coronavirus restrictions has been quicker compared to other economic downturns.
“The employment losses resulting from the COVID-19 economic shutdown were unprecedented in their speed and depth,” the statistics agency said in a Friday briefing.
“With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in May and June, the initial recovery of employment—to within 9.2% of pre-COVID levels—has been sharper than in previous downturns, when recovery to pre-downturn employment has taken from two to five years.”
Return to work has not been equal, however. Statistics Canada noted men are closer to their pre-coronavirus employment levels compared to women.
There is also higher unemployment among young people compared to the general population.