American newspaperman Horace Greeley famously said "go west, young man." That piece of 19th-century advice still applies when it comes to men and women, young and old, looking for work in 21st-century Canada.
The latest survey by Adzuna, the British-based job-search web site, ranks Alberta and Saskatchewan as the most fertile ground to find a good, high-paying job.
The Huffington Post reports cities in the two western provinces have seven of the top spots, with Grande Prairie, the heart of Alberta's oil-sands sector, taking the No. 1 ranking.
Azuna used Statistics Canada data on unemployment beneficiaries to zero in on the best cities to hunt for a job, as well as the best-paying job categories and the regions where salaries have grown.
[ Related: Looking for a job in Canada? Try Saskatoon ]
The numbers reinforce the conclusions of Azuna's 2013 survey, which also tipped heavily to western locales with Saskatoon the top spot for job seekers.
Adzuna's manager for Canada, Gabriel Puliatti, told the Post that while the job market slumped late last year, the data shows signs it is coming back.
“After surprising December unemployment numbers, we are back on trend in 2014,” Puliatti said in a statement.
“As the Canadian economy continues to grow, we will see the competition for jobs decrease in the coming months. Typically, rates of pay should also improve in times of recovery, and we have seen a 2 per cent increase in the average salaries offered in January, compared to those offered in August.”
Not surprisingly, central Canada's hollowed-out manufacturing region ranks low on Adzuna's list, with Ontario cities such as Oshawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Sarnia taking six of the 10 worst spots, the Post said.
The chronically challenged economies of Atlantic Canada continue to offer dismal job prospects. Cape Breton, N.S., is the worst, with 32 job seekers for every available job. By comparison, though, Halifax ranks among the top 10 cities with 3.18 job seekers per job, better than Toronto at 4.09, the Post noted.
Last year's leader, Saskatoon, dropped to seventh place with 3.24 job seekers per position. Calgary is fourth at 2.31, behind Edmonton at 2.15, Red Deer at 1.77 and Grande Prairie at 1.38.
At the bottom of the list, Cape Breton ranks 5oth, followed by Saguenay, Quebc at 31.1, then Courtenay, B.C., on Vancouver Island, at 27.86, and Chilliwack, about an hour's drive east of Vancouver, at 23.89.
Provincially and territorially, Alberta's on top at an average 1.27 job seekers per job, followed by Saskatchewan at 2.71 and Manitoba at 3.14. Ontario is fourth at 3.80, followed by British Columbia at 4.67.
Newfoundland and Labrador rank last among the 13 provinces and territories at 19.71 but offer among the highest average salaries at $60,521 a year. Yukon tops the fat pay envelope ranking with an annual $75,197.
The best paying jobs, predictably, are in the energy, oil and gas sector, averaging $90,458, followed by IT at $82,766 and human resources and recruitment further back at $67,068. The worst-paying job on the list was domestic help and cleaning, at $21,980.
A November BMO Capital Markets report noted Alberta and Saskatchewan's job numbers reflected the provinces' strong economic growth compared with Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
"This wide gap is driving interprovincial migration, and could have a ripple effect into areas such as housing, consumer spending and government finances," BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic wrote.
"Interprovincial migration is on the rise, with the absolute number of migrants over the past year hitting the highest level in almost a quarter century."
Horace Greeley lives.
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