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Alberta's unemployment rate rises to 15.5 per cent in May, Edmonton's to 13.6 per cent|BCI CANADA

© Sean KilpatrickThe Statistics Canada offices in Ottawa.

Alberta’s unemployment rate rose to 15.5 per cent in May just as the province began to allow some businesses closed by the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen.

That’s an increase of 2.1 per cent over the month of April, according to the Labour Force Survey released Friday morning by Statistics Canada.

Across the country unemployment hit a record high of 13.7 per cent but the economy added 289,600 jobs in May as more people started to look for work.

The Labour Force Survey results for May were gathered the week of May 10 to 16. Alberta began phase one of its relaunch on May 14, allowing some businesses to open and restaurants to resume dine-in services after being shut by public health orders due to the pandemic in March.

The number of employed Albertans grew by 28,000 in May. The employment increase in the province was entirely driven by the services-producing sector, according to the survey.

Approximately 48,200 jobs were lost in Edmonton in the month of May. The city’s unemployment rate jumped to 13.6 per cent, up from 10 per cent in April, and slightly higher than Calgary’s unemployment rate of 13.4 per cent. 

Edmonton has the third highest unemployment rate of cities measured by Statistics Canada, behind only Windsor and Montreal.

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