It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

As reported this week, Wood Buffalo’s unemployment rate has fallen to 6.3 percent in July from 6.5 percent in June:

Unemployment rates fall in Wood Buffalo region

According to information released by Statistics Canada, the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region saw continuous drops in unemployment rates starting in July 2017, when it was at 7.4 per cent. Unemployment saw a slight increase between April and June, before dropping again last month.

Wood Buffalo’s unemployment is lower than the provincial average, which is at 6.6 per cent, but is above the national average, which sits at 5.9 per cent. fortmcmurraytoday.com

The increases were primarily in mining, forestry, and oil, while services lost 1,100 jobs.

The fall in employment is joined by a year-over-year increase in homes sales in July. As we reported this week, the housing market is showing signs of improvement, and Fort McMurray is no exception:

Home sales increased in July; continue to stabilize market

Sales of single family detached homes increased by 20.93 per cent, while mobile, apartment, townhomes and lot sales also significant increases.

The average price for a single family home was down by 14.41 per cent from $635,433 in 2017 to $543,837.

Vacant lots saw the biggest price decrease at 54.65 per cent, down from $188,631 to $85,552. Via mymcmurray.com

It’s important to keep in mind that prices are still falling, however. Regardless, the increase in sales is sure to go a long way in stabilizing the market.

Credit: MyMcMurray

With things looking up for the municipality, businesses are continuously moving north of the bridge. That hasn’t stopped residents from living in the downtown area though:

More People Choosing To Live Downtown

Despite ongoing uptown commercial developments encouraging more businesses to move, people continue to buy houses and rent apartments in the lower townsite.

Sales agent with Re/Max Lance Bussieres tells Mix News single-family home sales are still up significantly from last year.

“We’re certainly above the 800 or 900 mark. I mean, year to date sales are sitting around 715 at the end of July, so overall, we should be on target for hopefully 1,100 or 1,200 sales.”

In previous years, between three and five per cent of the municipality’s single-family home sales were in downtown. If you add the entire lower townsite, it’s around 9 and 12 per cent. read more at mix1037fm.com

The uptown area is steadily opening new commercial developments, such as the Commons at Eagle Ridge, which will make the area more and more attractive over time.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.