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Published online at CTVEdmonton.ca on May 11, 2012.


Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: Friday, May 11, 2012

Edmonton sees job growth but concerns over labour shortages remain

For the first time in three months, Edmonton saw an increase in jobs in April.

According to figures released Friday in Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, 6,000 new full-time jobs created last month dropped the city’s unemployment rate from 5.7 per cent in March to 5.3 per cent in April.

“This is very welcome turnaround for the city and bodes well for future growth,” said John Rose, the city’s chief economist.

Oil and gas, manufacturing and construction sectors saw the most job creation in Edmonton.

Those job creations are part of an overall increase of 58,000 jobs across the country.

But while Alberta saw the fastest growth of all provinces in Canada, concerns over labour shortages continues to grow in the province and around the world.

Companies from Australia and New Zealand are among those trying to lure skilled Alberta workers down under.

Mining, engineering and oil and gas companies will try and entice workers to relocate at an international job expo being held over the weekend.

“In Australia and New Zealand and almost anywhere in the world that has an energy and mining industry, there is a skill shortage,” said expo organizer Rupert Merrick.

Last year, the expo recruited more than 300 Canadians to work down under.

“It’s a bit unnerving to see them coming in and competing with us because we are already short of people,” Rose said.

“With the population aging and the labour force growing more slowly in almost all advanced countries, this presents a real problem for many jurisdictions but for particularly for high growth potential places like Alberta.”

Projections show Alberta will be 114,000 workers short over the next decade, but the province is addressing the shortfall by recruiting out-of-province workers as well.

“We travel the world and we look for the best of the best,” said Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.

In 2011, Alberta attracted 128,000 workers from other parts of Canada and around the world, with an 85 per cent retention rate as well, which is the highest in the entire country.

Lukaszuk says part of that has to do with Alberta’s high standard of living.

With files from Kevin Armstrong

Click here to read the article on the CTV Edmonton website.