Province sees no overall job growth in 2015
(TORONTO, ON) – Things didn’t get worse in Alberta’s job market, but they didn’t get any better. Statistics Canada released its latest job numbers today and the highlights include:
- Alberta’s unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6.0 per cent.
- Thus far in 2015, there has been no overall employment growth in Alberta.
- Since the beginning of the year, unemployment increased by 1.3 percentage points in Alberta.
While Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, is concerned about employment situation and Alberta job market, he’s equally worried about the enormous amount of household debt that Albertans are carrying. According to BMO’s Annual Debt Report (August, 2015), average household debt increased dramatically – from $89,026 in 2013 to $124,838 – a 40 per cent increase.
“We see a lot of Albertans living on the financial edge these days,” says Schwartz. “Unfortunately it looks like many of them are being forced to borrow their way through it.”
With national savings rates near record lows, Schwartz worries that Albertans have left themselves overly exposed to the shock of unemployment, particularly as Canada slips into recession.
“Hearing the dreaded ‘r-word’ earlier this week means there’s no better time to turn our attention to building our emergency fund, no matter how brief or mild we think this downturn will be,” adds Schwartz.
If you are passed the point of building an emergency fund, Schwartz offers the following tips to tackle the Alberta job market:
Create a survival budget – Now is the time to focus on “needs” and forget about “wants.” Sit down with your budget and figure out how much you need to spend in order to bridge the gap until your next job. You need to make the absolute most of your savings or any supplemental income you might be receiving.
Apply for benefits – There is certainly no shame in applying for EI; you paid into the system and it is designed to help you in difficult times. Be sure to apply right away because the paperwork can take time and you will want to minimize the wait.
Call your creditors – You might be reluctant to inform your creditors that you lost your job, but you would be surprised at how reasonable they can be when you are upfront about your finances. By contacting them before you miss a payment you may find that they are willing to discuss a minimum payment or even a reduction in interest charges.
Keep your head up – Feeling a sense of despair right now is normal, but it is important to do everything you can, in order to get back on the horse. Update your resume, volunteer, or consider taking entry-level positions. In today’s competitive job market, you will need to think outside of the box.
Seek help – There are counsellors for everything – if you are under distress, don’t go at it alone. Employment centres and career counsellors can help you move forward with the proper tools and resources. If looming debt payments are weighing on you, talk to a trained credit counsellor from a non-profit credit counselling agency to see what your debt relief options are.
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact: