A year after the Job Creation Tax Cut, Alberta has over 200,000 fewer full-time jobs

And that’s despite increases over the last two months. Even if you ignore job losses during the pandemic, we’re still short 52,600 full-time jobs.

The federal government released their July 2020 job numbers yesterday, and for the third month in a row, job numbers are up in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs was 67,000. That’s higher than the 28,200 increase in May, but lower than the 91,600 increase in June. If we add the three months together, Alberta has seen 186,800 jobs “created” over the last two months.

Remember, however, that this follows two months of record job losses. Between February and April, Alberta lost 360,900 jobs, which means that there are still 174,100 lost jobs that haven’t recovered. Nearly half of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown remain unfilled.

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Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers made up 51% of the job increases. Men over 25 saw an increase of 28,700 (or 27.8%) compared to June. On the other hand, 29,900 more women over 25 were employed in July over the previous month, an increase of 35.9%.

Most sectors saw some job gains in Alberta for July. In fact, of the sectors reported by Statistics Canada, only 3 saw further job losses in Alberta:

  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing (-2,300)
  • Business, building, and other support services (-3,900)
  • Public administration (-1,400)
Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 57,300 between June and July, but there were still 169,000 fewer private sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 11,700 over June but lower than July 2019 by 28,500. Self employed jobs were down by 1,700 over June but 11,600 higher than they were in July 2019.

Full-time jobs made up only 45% of the new jobs, unlike June, when full-time jobs made up 79% of the increase.

Between July 2019—when Jason Kenney introduced his so-called Job Creation Tax Cut—and Feburary 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).

Full-time numbers worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with June and July being the only months when we saw an increase in full-time jobs (72,000 and 30,000, respectively). Alberta lost 252,800 full-time jobs during the pandemic. The increases over the last two months brings the full-time job deficit to 150,800.

If we include all the full-time job numbers both before and during the shutdown, the total number of full-time jobs lost since July 2019 are 203,400.

That’s over 15,646 full-time jobs lost every month since last July, on average. It’s over 4,000 full-time jobs lost per month if we ignore all the pandemic job losses.

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 12.8%, down 2.7 points since June, the first drop since the pandemic. The participation rate (69.1%) remains unchanged since June, so this increase is entirely because more people are working. That being said, it’s still significantly higher than the 7.2% rate in the province prior to the pandemic.

Canada also saw an increase in employment, with national jobs going up by 419,000, as restrictions continued to ease throughout the country. Combined with other increases during the latter part of the pandemic, employment is now within 1.3 million of pre-pandemic levels in the country. Jobs were up in nearly all provinces, but Saskatchewan and PEI led the way, with Alberta having the third largest drop in unemployment rate.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 10.9% down from June’s 12.3% and May’s record 13.7%. It’s still higher than the pre-pandemic 5.6% the country saw in February.

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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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