Statistics Canada recently released fourth quarter data on payroll employment for each of the provinces. The seasonally adjusted data was as of January 2023.
This data is different from the labour force data I reported on for January, in that this specifically reports on workers who are on payroll.
In particular, it includes full-time employees, part-time employees, as well as permanent, casual, temporary, and seasonal employees. It also includes working owners, directors, partners, and other officers of incorporated businesses, as well as employees who work at home or on the road but report to the location.
However, what it doesn’t include are owners or partners of unincorporated businesses and professional practices, the self-employed, subcontractors, external consultants, unpaid family workers, persons working outside Canada, and military personnel, as well as employees on unpaid leave, such as those on extended sick leave who are receiving insurance benefits.
I figured I’d take a look to see how the job situation looks in Alberta.
Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the fourth largest number of payroll employees in Canada. After all, they do have the fourth largest population in general.
In the January 2023, there were 2,088,503 payroll employees working in Alberta. The month before, that number was 2,074,048. That’s a 14,455 increase, the second largest increase in the country.
|Dec 2022||Jan 2023||Change||% change|
When we look at the increase as a percentage of the December 2022 job numbers, we see that Alberta actually had the third largest increase, surpassed by only Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.
Alberta also had the fourth largest increase when we compare to January 2022, a year earlier and nearly 2 years after the province first introduced public health protections related to the pandemic.
|Jan 2022||Jan 2023||Change||% change|
As I said at the outset, this shouldn’t be that surprising, given that we have the fourth largest population in general. Alberta jumps up to first place, however, in terms of percentage change over that year.
Here is what things look like going back to January 2021, two years prior and about a year into the pandemic.
|Jan 2021||Jan 2023||Change||% change|
Alberta, once again, had the fourth largest increase in payroll employment, as well as highest when we look at percentage-based increase.
However, things start to look less rosy the further we go back.
For example, check out what the numbers look like when compared to the January 2020, the first January since the UCP government introduced what they dubbed the “Job Creation Tax Cut”.
|Jan 2020||Jan 2023||Change||% change|
Alberta’s growth in payroll employees since January 2020 was the fourth best of all the provinces in Canada, in total numbers. However, that growth was drastically lower than the 3 larger provinces. For example, British Columbia, which was only one spot above Alberta, saw an increase in payroll employment that was more than twice as large as Alberta’s, despite having a population that is only 14% larger.
On a percentage basis, Alberta actually saw the third worst growth of all provinces, coming in at less than 3.07%.
Ontario saw an increase in nearly 250,000 payroll employees during the same period. Québec and BC were the only other provinces to pass the 100,000 mark.
Finally, let’s compare January’s numbers to January 2019, the last January during the NDP administration.
|Jan 2019||Jan 2023||Change||% change|
Once again, Alberta saw the fourth largest increase in absolute numbers, but, once again, it trails behind the three other large provinces. Ontario passed the 300,000 mark, Québec was over 250,000, and BC was nearly 200,000, roughly 3 times the increase that Alberta saw, despite having only 14% more people living there.
By percentage, Alberta was still in third-to-last place, at just 3.15%.
Keep in mind that Alberta’s population increased by 7.79% during the same period, which means the growth in payroll jobs we did see wasn’t even enough to give jobs to the people who were moving to the province, let alone those who were already here and were still unemployed.
PEI saw the largest increase in percentage growth, at 11.77%
On that note, PEI corporate tax rate is 16%. Despite having a corporate income tax rate that is 1.5 times as high as Alberta’s, PEI was able to grow their payroll employees by over 3 times more than Alberta could.
Maybe how low a tax on corporate profits is actually has no bearing on job growth.