04/19/2017 14:35 EDT | Updated 04/19/2017 15:41 EDT

Alberta employers encouraged to hire locally in professions hurt by bad economy

EDMONTON — Alberta companies are being encouraged to hire locally for jobs in professions hit hard by the economic downturn.

Under the federal-provincial program companies cannot apply to hire temporary foreign workers for 29 occupations.

The list includes engineering managers, contractors, machinists, plumbers, carpenters and oil and gas well drillers.

The governments say under the pilot project it will be easier for employers to recruit Alberta workers for jobs.

Alberta's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent last month.

As of December the province had the third highest number of employment insurance recipients in Canada — up 55 per cent from the same time in 2015.

The Alberta Construction Association praised the program.

"We believe in hiring Albertans first, Canadians next and foreign workers as a last resort," Chris Ambrozic, vice-president of the association said Wednesday in a release.