The province added 83,000 jobs a year ago.
The surprisingly strong run was capped off by a December report that led some forecasters to cement, or even move up, their predictions that the Bank of Canada would raise its benchmark interest rate, possibly as early as this month.
The region finished the year with 4.6 per cent unemployment in December, down from 10.5 per cent at the end of 2016 and the start of the year, according to Statistic Canada's Labour Force Survey released January 5. Over the past 12 months, the economy added 422,500 jobs with the gains driven by 394,200 new full-time positions, the agency's labour force survey said.
The Red Deer area unemployment rate in December 2016 was 8.0 per cent.
The overnight rate - which affects mortgage rates - has been forecasted to continue to rise in 2018, but strong December job numbers are pushing economists to predict that the first hike might be just around the corner.More news: HP Canada recalling certain lithium-ion batteries
The Canadian economy added nearly 80,000 jobs for the second month in a row in December and the jobless rate dipped to a 41-year low of 5.7 percent, Statistics Canada said. "We're going to wait to see what the Business Outlook Survey says", he added in an interview.
Several analysts said Friday's solid labour report might be enough to encourage Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to introduce another interest-rate hike later this month.
Employment continued to grow across the country last month, plunging the national unemployment rate to the lowest number in 40 years. The work force last December included 2.32 million workers compared with 2.27 in December 2016.
In separate data, Canada's trade deficit in November widened to C$2.54 billion as both exports and imports benefited from increased activity in the automotive industry.