Even with the slowing energy sector here in the province, Saskatchewan continues to display impressive job growth numbers. So impressive in fact, February gained 9000 jobs, that represents a record number of jobs for the month of February. Alastair MacFadden deputy minister for the ministry of immigration and career training walks us through some of the numbers.
"In the province of Saskatchewan the job numbers were up 9000 on a year over year basis, this February marked the seventh straight month that we have seen an increase of jobs in the province. There were both more full-time and part-time jobs that were reported. The unemployment rate in Saskatchewan was 5.8% in February which is right on par with the national average."
With the increase in job numbers reported, one correlation one might expect to see is a drop in the number of people claiming EI benefits and according to MacFadden that is exactly what they are seeing.
"The Number of EI beneficiaries in the region has decreased since 2017. What we are seeing for some of the latest numbers, in December 2018 the number of regular EI beneficiaries declined by 30% in Estevan compared to December of 2017 and the provincial decline is 14% over the same period. so there have been some significant changes in Estevan, Weyburn, and that overall moose mountain region."
While the province is seeing a loss when it comes to jobs related to the energy sector we are making gains in other areas
"We got significant growth in jobs related to healthcare and social assistance, this is a province with an aging population but also a high birthrate and so that creates demands on those kinds of supports. We have seen growth in agriculture, where productivity and production is strong. We have also seen growth in finance, insurance, real estate, and leasing in Saskatchewan on a year over year basis."
Estevan was hard hit when the energy sector started its downward spiral several years ago and while the jobless rate is in line with the national average at times it can seem much higher than that.
"Well, the statistics don't tell the whole story. The unemployment rate was 5.8% in February which is the same as the national average but that does nothing to speak to the personal experience. So i don't want to diminish what its been like for workers and for families and even employers who are experiencing an economic downturn, the global commodity prices and trade uncertainty is causing some economic headwinds for the whole province and it is having a direct impact on workers in some sectors."