LETHBRIDGE, AB – Those beefed up COVID-19 restrictions the province imposed last month had a big impact on our local employment picture.

In December, this area saw its highest jobless rate since early on in the pandemic last spring.

Unemployment in the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region increased to 10.5%, making it the highest in the province. That’s something we haven’t seen here in a very long time.

The jobs picture across Alberta isn’t much better, sitting at 11.0% in December.

From a national perspective, Canadian employment contracted for the first time since last April, with 63,000 less people working from coast to coast.

That puts the overall Canadian unemployment rate at 8.6%.

Statistics Canada says in December, 1.1 million Canadian workers were affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown, in the form of lost employment or reduced hours, compared with 5.5 million in April.

Alberta Jobless Rate by Region in December 2020

Lethbridge-Medicine Hat: 10.5%
Camrose-Drumheller: 10.1%
Calgary: 10.1%
Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House: 9.5%
Athabasca-Grande Prairie-Peace River: 9.5%
Red Deer: 9.6%
Edmonton: 10.4%
Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake: 8.3%