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Calgary’s job market did not play out as most forecasters had anticipated in 2018.

Instead of a continual improvement in the job market, with a slow reduction in unemployment rates, Calgary faced further job losses in the latter part of the year and the city’s unemployment rate remained the highest in the province.

Weakness in the employment market and household income impacted housing markets in 2018.

Modest growth in employment is expected in 2019, but not enough to push unemployment rates below seven per cent or to generate a significant shift in housing demand.

Key factors in Calgary’s job market:

  • Substantial risk is present in the employment market forecast. If concerns in the energy sector do not ease, we could see further job losses in higher-paid occupations.
  • Employment growth is forecasted to increase by one per cent in 2019. This will be led by growth in Wholesale Trade, Education, Accommodation and Food Services, and Public Administration.
  • Persistently high unemployment rates will impact income growth and housing demand.
  • Overall employment figures have risen above levels recorded prior to the recession. However, employment has not recovered to pre-recession highs in industries that are related to the energy sector, including Technical and Professional Services, Manufacturing, Construction and Primary, and Utilities.

Regional Comparison

Unemployment rates have generally declined across all regions from the highs recorded during the peak of the recession. However, Calgary continues to report the highest unemployment rates in the province, as the downturn in the energy sector had a significant impact on office positions in the city.

The variation is not limited to employment, as housing markets throughout the province differ depending on location. Other than Fort McMurray, the Calgary region has seen the largest pullback in resale sales compared to typical levels.