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2015 Top Stories: Low oil prices lead to layoffs, rise in suicide rates

Each day for the rest of the year, 2day FM will be looking back on some of the biggest local stories of the year, as voted by our listeners. Here’s number 4:

Statistics Canada estimates that as many as 63,000 jobs were lost in Alberta during the first eight months of 2015, primarily from the oil and gas sector. More job losses are expected for 2016 as oil is being forecast to potentially drop to as low as $20 a barrel in the new year.

The price of oil began to drop in the second half of 2014, and continued to slump after starting 2015 at around $47 US a barrel, picking up slightly to just under $60 a barrel mid-way through the year, and now dropping to just under $35 a barrel US.

Unemployment rates in the Grande Prairie-Athabasca-Peace River region have risen from 3.7 per cent in January to 6.2 in November, though we still sit below the provincial rate of 7 per cent. Alberta’s Medical Examiner is also attributing a rise in suicide rates during the first half of the year – from 252 in 2014 to 327 in 2015 – to the number of layoffs in the energy sector.

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