Medicine Hat’s workforce seeing more employment opportunities – Invest Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat’s workforce seeing more employment opportunities

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Despite a slight increase in unemployment in February, more people are employed than one year earlier and at the same time more job opportunities are becoming available in Medicine Hat. There is also a cautious optimism locally and provincially as oil and gas prices start to rise.

The February employment numbers from StatsCan arrived in our inbox last week, indicating a slight increase of 0.2% in unemployment over February 2016. The current unemployment rate for the city sits at 8% and nearly one percent better than the provincial average of 8.8%. Also, it is significantly lower than a few months earlier when unemployment reached 13% in July 2016.

Hiring fairs in the oil and gas sector held in February could result in a continued decrease in the unemployment rate moving forward into March and more fairs keep popping up. Calfrac is holding a fourth fair tomorrow to search for fracturing supervisors and operators.

More oilfield activity could be seen as predicted oil prices make a 2.1% rebound this year as West Texas Intermediate could touch the US$50-55 range. Also, natural gas prices are also forecasted to make a gradual recovery in 2017 up to $3.20 /MMBtu.

New statistics from Alberta Economic Development and Trade show that the largest increases in Employment Insurance claims in Alberta cities increased between 94-186% in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 2015. Like many Alberta cities, Medicine Hat is also seeing more people receiving EI, 50% more than in 2015, falling into the middle category.

With an uptick in the job market and a ready  workforce, there is reason for cautious optimism in Medicine Hat.