33,000 part-time workers lost their jobs in Alberta

Full-time jobs were up, but full-time wages were down.

The federal government released their May 2022 job numbers last week, and job numbers are up in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs between last month and April was 27,500.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 92,300.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases between April and May. There were 13,300 more women over 25 back at work last month compared to April. That number decreases to 11,500 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 10,700 more men over 25 were employed in May over the previous month—but the gain increases to 16,000 more men if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

In Alberta, 10 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “professional, scientific and technical services” seeing the highest gains: 10,800).

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

  • Health care and social assistance (-7,500)
  • Information, culture and recreation (-4,800)
  • Manufacturing (-2,800)
  • Public administration (-2,500)
  • Business, building and other support services (-1,900)
  • Construction (-500)

Combined, these 6 industries lost 20,000 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was “construction”. “Wholesale and retail trade” saw the largest increase over the last year.

Wholesale and retail trade60,40018.17%
Accommodation and food services43,80045.86%
Professional, scientific and technical services19,70010.53%
Information, culture and recreation12,40019.68%
Health care and social assistance7,3002.41%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas5,7003.95%
Transportation and warehousing5,3004.18%
Public administration4,1004.16%
Other services (except public administration)2,8003.11%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing2000.17%
Business, building and other support services-300-0.41%
Educational services-3,300-1.91%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 13,300 between April and May, but there were 141,400 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 11,100 over April but higher than May 2021 by only 2,000. Self employed jobs were up by 3,100 over April and were 2,100 more than they were in May 2021.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 60,600 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between April and May, but they lost 33,100 part-time jobs.

There were 33,000 women full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time grew by 27,500 during the same period.

This is the third time in 2022 that Alberta has seen a gain in full-time jobs.

Between July 2019—when Jason Kenney introduced his so-called Job Creation Tax Cut—and February 2020, Alberta saw 4 months with drops in full-time jobs, for a total of 52,600 full-time job losses (if you account for gains made in other months).

In February 2020, there were 1,850,000 people working full-time in Alberta. Last month, that number was 1,940,800. That means there are 90,800 more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic.

Aswell, in June 2019, the month before the Job Creation Tax Cut came into effect, there were 1,886,700 people working full-time. That means that there are 54,100 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 82.04%. Granted, the month before, they were at 80.4%.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers were down 87¢ last month, from $35.86 an hour in April. This is the lowest average full-time hourly wages have been since January 2022.

Part-time wages, on the other hand, had increased, from $22.24 an hour in April to $23.00 in May, it’s the highest level since February 2021. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs decreased to $33.06 an hour last month from $33.25 in April.

By industry, wages increased in only 5 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Apr 2022May 2022Change
Fin., ins., real estate, rental & leasing$40.78$38.22-$2.56
Forest., fish., mining, quarrying, O&G$49.11$47.46-$1.65
Accommodation & food services$19.49$18.74-$0.75
Health care & social assistance$33.08$32.54-$0.54
Other serv. (except publ. admin.)$28.73$28.40-$0.33
Educational services$36.04$35.72-$0.32
Transportation & warehousing$32.43$32.26-$0.17
Information, culture & recreation$29.51$29.34-$0.17

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the last year, Alberta has the fifth worst performance, one of 5 provinces to see wage losses.

Apr 2022May 2022Change

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 5.3%, down from 5.9% in February. This is the lowest unemployment has been in Alberta during the entire time the UCP have been in power and the lowest it’s been since January 2015, since before the NDP were even in power.

The participation rate decreased slightly to 69.2%, compared to 69.3% in February. Alberta had 300 more people participating in the labour force last month than they did in March.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth lowest. It was surpassed by all the Atlantic provinces (6.7% and 10.0%) and Ontario. Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.5% and 4.8%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.2%, more than a full percentage point lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country rising by 39,800, the bulk of which occurred in Alberta (27,500), BC and Québec, both of which saw 5,100 more jobs. Newfoundland and Labrador was third with 4,100 new jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased to 5.1%, down only slightly from April’s 5.2% and the lowest it’s been in nearly 40 years.

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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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