15,000 Albertans lost their job last month

Alberta lost 10,000 full-time jobs overall in November, nearly wiping out the 14,000 full-time jobs they gained the previous month.

The federal government released their November 2022 job numbers last week, and job numbers are down in Alberta, for the first time in over a year.

The net decrease to jobs between last month and October was 15,100. That’s the first decrease in total jobs since October 2021.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases between October and November. There were 4,100 more women over 25 back at work last month compared to October. That number jumps to 8,100 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 14,000 fewer men over 25 were employed in November over the previous month—but that changes to 23,200 fewer women if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

Here’s how Alberta’s new jobs compare to the other provinces:

Oct 2022Nov 2022Change% change

Alberta saw the largest decrease in total jobs. However, their decrease, relative to the number of employed workers in October, was actually the fourth largest.

In Alberta, 10 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “other services ( except public administration)” seeing the highest gains: 8,000).

The 6 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Wholesale and retail trade (-16,100)
  • Construction (-12,700)
  • Accomodation and food services (-9,800)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-3,400)
  • Utilities (-2,600)
  • Public administration (-500)

Combined, these 6 industries lost 45,100 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was “professional, scientific and technical services”. “Transportation and warehousing” saw the largest decrease over the last year.

Nov 2021Nov 2022Change% change
Professional, scientific and technical services193,200224,60031,40016.25%
Other services (except public administration)99,500113,20013,70013.77%
Information, culture and recreation68,50078,60010,10014.74%
Health care and social assistance304,500314,50010,0003.28%
Accommodation and food services119,900126,2006,3005.25%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas139,800144,9005,1003.65%
Wholesale and retail trade359,700360,9001,2000.33%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing121,300120,800-500-0.41%
Business, building and other support services71,90071,200-700-0.97%
Public administration107,500105,400-2,100-1.95%
Educational services166,800163,400-3,400-2.04%
Transportation and warehousing137,700127,100-10,600-7.70%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector shrunk by 26,700 between October and November. There were 66,900 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 3,400 over October but lower than November 2021 by 9,900. Self employed jobs were up by 8,200 over October but up by 25,400 over November 2021.

Full-time jobs made up most of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 14,000 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between September and October, but they lost 5,100 part-time jobs.

There were 5,700 women full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time shrunk by 15,800 during the same period.

In June 2019, the month before the Job Creation Tax Cut came into effect, there were 1,886,700 people working full-time. Last month, there were 1,920,700. That means that there are 34,000 more full-time jobs than there were before the UCP cut the tax on corporate profits.

That being said, full-time jobs still make up a smaller percentage of total jobs now than they did before the Job Creation Tax Cut. In June 2019, full-time jobs made up 82.5% of all jobs in the province. Last month, they were at 81.2%.

While we technically have more full-time jobs than we did 3 years ago, those jobs haven’t kept up with population growth, which means more people are working part-time jobs, relative to the number of people employed in Alberta.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers were up 26¢ last month, from an average of $35.32 an hour in October. This marks 4 months of wage increases in Alberta, but they’re still lower than they were in April, when they sat at $35.86.

Part-time wage, however, decreased, from $23.72 an hour in October to $23.05 in November.

The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs increased to $33.41 an hour last month from $33.25 in October.

By industry, wages increased in 9 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Oct 2022Nov 2022Change
For., fish., mining, quarrying, O&G$49.03$46.94-$2.09
Fin., ins., real estate, rental & leasing$36.51$35.75-$0.76
Educational services$36.13$35.72-$0.41
Public administration$43.91$43.56-$0.35
Other services (except public admin.)$28.04$27.70-$0.34
Health care & social assistance$33.17$33.11-$0.06

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta saw the second smallest increase in wages, coming ahead of only BC and the 3 provinces that saw wage decreases.

Alberta’s wage increase was also smaller than the national wage increase, which was 17¢ an hour.

Oct 2022Nov 2022Change

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 5.8%, up from 5.2% in October. They were tied with New Brunswick for the highest increase in its unemployment rate.

The participation rate was relatively unchanged, decreasing slightly from 68.8% to 68.6%.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth highest. It was surpassed by all the Atlantic provinces (6.0% through 10.7%). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.4% and 4.2%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, two full percentage points lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country jumping up by 10,100, the bulk of which occurred in Ontario and Québec, which increased by 28,100 and 22,600 jobs, respectively. Alberta’s loss of 15,100 jobs was the largest decrease of all the provinces. Nova Scotia was the only other province that saw job increases last month, with jobs rising by 1,600.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.1%, down slightly from October’s 5.2%.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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