Medicine Hat – by far the lowest in the province.
Troy Media – ATB Financial
Last week’s Labour Force Survey showed that Alberta continues to have the strongest job market in the country. But the degree to which Albertans participate in the workforce varies – especially among the five mid-sized cities across the province.
As a whole, Alberta’s participation rate was 74.1 per cent in January of this year. That means 74.1 per cent of all people aged 15 or older were either working, or looking for work.
But this rate varies widely between different cities. Over the last 15 years, the Wood Buffalo region (which includes Fort McMurray) has had the highest rate, rising to 86.6 per cent in 2011). Grande Prairie was not far behind with a rate of 82.9 per cent. Red Deer has had the most typical rate in the province, hovering close to the 75 per cent range or much of the past severally years.
Cities in southern Alberta have the lowest rates in the province. In 2011, 70.1 per cent of people in Lethbridge participated in the work force, whereas only 57.9 per cent did in Medicine Hat – by far the lowest in the province.
There are reasons that help explain the differences. Obviously, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie have been higher because of the strong job markets: people move to those cities because work is available.
Southern cities are influenced more by a higher average age, and perhaps by the presence of a major university and college in Lethbridge, and another large college in Medicine Hat. Students and people over age 65 tend to participate less in the work force.
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