Alberta sees boost in full-time jobs, self-employment
A new report by Statistics Canada shows Alberta added 20,700 new full-time jobs last month, a sign the province said shows the recovery is gaining momentum.
It seems Albertans are taking the bull by the horns and instead of waiting for jobs to come back, they are creating their own jobs, like the owner of a small shop in Water Valley who left her previous employer a year ago and hasn't looked back.
"I think in an economic downturn people often question how they lost control of their livelihood because it is so dependent on outside sources, where if you're working for yourself you're the only one that can make a go of it so you're in control of how you're going to get your next paycheck," said Erin Kergen, owner of Pickle and Myrrh.
In fact, the majority of the new jobs in the Stats Can report are made up of self-employment.
“Across Alberta the growth of 21,000 jobs in March is good news because those are coming out of part-time jobs and going into full-time and it looks like we are starting to turn the corner and see green shoots across the economy, we are starting to see more and more people either start their own businesses or get called back to the businesses that they were regrettably laid off from,” said Joe Ceci, Finance Minister.
It is a mixed blessing, though, with Stats Can reporting that the category of self-employed includes those working for family businesses without pay.
The news comes as the Finance Minister announced funding for International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone on 17th Avenue S.E.
The district will receive $300,000 through the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program, a provincial initiative that has allocated $30 million to promote long-term economic growth in communities.
“Last year, we launched the two-year CARES program to help communities with common interests but limited resources tackle economic development projects that they might not be able to on their own. Through these projects, local leaders are working together to grow and diversify our economy,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, in a release.
The area is a business district with a diverse ethnic makeup, offering more than 425 shops, restaurants and grocery stores from around the world.
This cash injection will go toward establishing a community economic development strategy, a promotional campaign, enhancement of the summer market and expansion of the social innovation hub.
Finance Minister Joe Ceci said places like International Avenue are where the recovery will be most noticeable.
“This is the kind of community where those jobs are going to be starting up because they are trying to focus on start-ups, small business startups, entrepreneurs, so we will see the jobs and growth in this part of Calgary quicker than other parts,” he said.
Ceci said two quarters of growth will be the best indication that the recovery is fully underway, referring to a Conference Board of Canada prediction that Alberta will lead the nation in GDP growth at 2.8 per cent this year.
The national unemployment rate went up slightly last month to 6.7 per cent. Alberta’s unemployment rate is 8.4 per cent, and Calgary’s is 9.3 per cent.