The number of unemployed in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat saw a spike in numbers from November to December. A one per cent increase was added to December in job losses, which comes to 6.5 per cent. Total employment in the region of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat has fallen by 7,000 over the past few months. Numbers in Lethbridge alone saw an increase of 0.6 per cent from November to December as well. Trevor Lewington, the CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge, says most of these job losses came from high touch industries.
“So that’s things like retail, food and accommodation. Those kinds of things where there’s a lot of customer interaction. It’s a bit counterintuitive. I would’ve expected in December, which is the peak shopping season in retail to have gained more unemployment. I do think whether it’s Omicron as a variant by itself, or whether it’s just continued covid challenges, and the restrictions that the province put in place, we’ve definitely seen those industries affected more so than any other. I think that’s definitely something to take note of as we head into January.”
In Alberta, the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points in December and now sits at just over 7 per cent. This is the lowest monthly figure reported in over two years.