Alberta's employment outlook bleak once again: Alberta's "real" unemployment rate, counting discouraged workers and involuntary part-timers, much higher than "official" rate

Edmonton - As Alberta's official unemployment rate edges up to 6.5%, the Alberta Federation of Labour released figures showing Alberta's "real" unemployment rate - including discouraged workers and involuntary part-timers - is much higher at 9.2%.

Alberta's "real" unemployment rate has grown substantially from just two months ago. In June, the real unemployment rate was 8.6%.

Canada's "official" unemployment rate is based on a much narrower calculation of people receiving Employment Insurance benefits and those engaged in any sort of job search. What economists often refer to as the "real" unemployment rate captures those who have dropped out of the labour force entirely, those who are working part-time due to unavailability of hours or full-time options, and those waiting to go back to a job after a lay-off.

The "real" unemployment rate is Statistics Canada's so-called R8 unemployment rate - available from Statistics Canada only for a fee.

Today's release of Alberta's official unemployment rate - 6.5 per cent in August 2010 - shows our province edging up 0.2 percentage point over July. Alberta is the only western province where unemployment went up - rates went down in B.C. and Saskatchewan and remained the same in Manitoba.

"Alberta's economy is nowhere near as robust as the rest of the western provinces," says Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "It is clear the government's hands-off approach is not working," continues McGowan, noting government has laid off at least 300 public employees and frozen hiring. At the same time, Alberta's private sector has failed to create full-time jobs, resulting in the slowest job growth in Canada, highest commercial bankruptcies, and the highest social assistance caseloads since 1997.

The Alberta Federation of Labour represents over 140,000 workers across the province.


Media Contact:

Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888 (cell)

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