Statcan jobs data shows highs and lows of 2023 for Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo

Some job sectors ended 2023 with job losses, even if they were stronger than they were at the end of 2022.

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The census region covering Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo ended 2023 with drops in unemployment compared to November 2023 but a slight rise in unemployment from December 2022, according to data released by Statistics Canada.

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The oilsands gained the most jobs compared to the end of 2022 while the sector covering accommodations and food was hit hardest. But the oilsands also reported job losses, while accommodations and food showed no changes.

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December unemployment for the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake census region dropped to 4.6 per cent from five per cent in November. Employment dropped to 71.4 per cent from 72 per cent. Employment in December 2022 was 69.4 per cent and unemployment was 4.4 per cent. Unemployment peaked in August at six per cent.

  • The sector covering the oilsands lost 200 jobs from November and gained 1,300 jobs from December 2022.
  • Public administration had no changes from November and gained 700 jobs from December 2022.
  • Education had no change from November and 900 more positions from December 2022.
  • Health care gained 200 jobs from November and gained 600 jobs from December 2022.
  • The sector labelled “other” lost 300 jobs from November and gained 600 from December 2022.
  • Business, building and support services gained 100 jobs from November and gained 400 jobs from December 2022.
  • Retail lost 700 positions from November and gained 200 jobs from December 2022.
  • Construction gained 700 positions from November and lost 100 positions from December 2022.
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing gained 300 jobs from November and lost 200 jobs from December 2022.
  • Transportation and warehousing lost 300 positions from November and lost 300 positions from December 2022.
  • Professional, scientific and technical services lost 200 positions from November and lost 300 positions from December 2022.
  • Accommodations and food services had no change from November and lost 2,300 positions from December 2022.

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The participation rate—which measures how much of the population is working or actively looking for work—dropped to 74.8 per cent last month. The rate was 75.3 per cent in November and 72.6 per cent in December 2022.

The labour force in December shrank by 500 positions in December but grew by 4,200 positions from December 2022. The region lost 500 full-time jobs and lost 100 part-time jobs from November, but respectively gained 4,300 jobs and lost 100 jobs from December 2022.

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