AB gained 12K jobs last month, most in hospitality

Despite the 12,000 new jobs, Alberta’s unemployment rate jumped to 6.1%, the highest it’s been since April 2022.

The federal government released their July 2023 job numbers last week, and job numbers are up in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs between last month and June was 11,800.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases between June and July. There were 7,600 more women over 25 at work last month compared to June. That number drops to 6,700, however, if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

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On the other hand, only 1,400 more men over 25 were employed in July over the previous month—but that jumps to 5,200 more men 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:

Jun 2023Jul 2023Change% change

Alberta saw the largest increase in total jobs among all provinces that saw increases. They had the third largest percentage increase in new jobs, at 0.48%.

New Brunswick saw the next largest increase in new jobs, with 4,200 more people working last month than in June. Prince Edward Island saw the largest percentage increase: 1.73%.

In Alberta, 8 job sectors saw job gains for April (with accomodation and food services seeing the highest gains: 10,600).

The other 8 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Information, culture and recreation: (-6,200)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: (-4,500)
  • Transportation and warehousing: (-4,500)
  • Wholesale and retail trade: (-3,900)
  • Construction: (-2,800)
  • Other services (except public administration): (-2,400)
  • Educational services: (-1,000)
  • Utilities: (-500)

Combined, these 8 industries lost 25,800 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job gains was “manufacturing”. “Educational services” saw the largest decrease over the last year.

Jul 2022Jul 2023Change% change
Health care and social assistance310,200328,50018,3005.90%
Professional, scientific and technical services218,200235,90017,7008.11%
Accommodation and food services128,200139,80011,6009.05%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing127,000138,00011,0008.66%
Public administration107,200117,80010,6009.89%
Transportation and warehousing135,400144,4009,0006.65%
Other services (except public administration)99,20098,200-1,000-1.01%
Business, building and other support services73,70071,800-1,900-2.58%
Wholesale and retail trade371,800369,600-2,200-0.59%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas137,500135,200-2,300-1.67%
Information, culture and recreation80,50077,700-2,800-3.48%
Educational services166,500159,600-6,900-4.14%

The report from Statistics Canada also shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 3,500 between June and July. There were 64,400 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 7,600 over June but higher than July 2022 by 22,800. Self employed jobs were up by 800 over June but down by 4,300 over July 2022.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta lost 19,700 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between June and July, and they gained 31,500 full-time jobs.

There were 22,700 more men full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of women who worked full-time increased by 8,700 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 2,045,300. That means that there are 158,600 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 82.8%, which is the first time since June 2019 that the percentage of full-time jobs hasn’t been lower than it was prior to the introduction of the corporate profit tax cut.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers increased by 3¢, from an average of $36.63 an hour in June.

Part-time wages, on the other hand, decreased from $24.40 an hour in June to $23.92 in July. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs combined remained stagnant at $34.72 an hour, which is where it sat in June.

By industry, wages increased in 8 of the 16 reported sectors.

Jun 2023Jul 2023Change
Professional, scientific and technical services$42.28$44.03$1.75
Transportation and warehousing$35.52$37.24$1.72
Health care and social assistance$33.54$34.92$1.38
Other services (except public administration)$29.68$30.58$0.90
Accommodation and food services$18.75$19.33$0.58
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas$52.31$52.11-$0.20
Public administration$43.74$43.40-$0.34
Educational services$39.93$39.58-$0.35
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing$37.65$36.92-$0.73
Wholesale and retail trade$27.37$26.57-$0.80
Information, culture and recreation$28.98$27.01-$1.97
Business, building and other support services$28.85$26.10-$2.75

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta was tied with Saskatchewan for the fifth best performance in change of wages. They were the only provinces tow see no increase or decrease in wages.

Alberta also had the highest average hourly wage of all the provinces; although Ontario was only a little more than 30¢ an hour behind Alberta.

Jun 2023Jul 2023Change

Despite the increase of nearly 12,000 new jobs to its economy, Alberta saw its unemployment rate jump to 6.1% last month, up from 5.7% in May and June. This is the highest it’s been since April 2022.

That’s because Alberta’s labour force also increased by 23,500, so, if you have 23,500 more people available to work than in June, but only 11,800 more jobs, then it’s not going to result in a higher unemployment rate.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the fifth highest. Alberta’s unemployment rate was lower than just 4 other provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador (8.7%), Prince Edward Island (8.1%), Nova Scotia (7.7%), and New Brunswick (6.2%).

Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 5.4% and 5.1%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.5%, more than 1.5 percentage points lower than Alberta’s.

As far as change in unemployment rate, half of the provinces—Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI, New Brunswick, Ontario, and BC—saw decreases. Everyone else saw an increase, which stayed the same.

That being said, Alberta’s unemployment rate in July 2022 was 5.0%, which means that with all the ups and downs in its unemployment rate over the last year, the percentage of the labour force in Alberta that remains without a job has actually increased.

To be fair, most provinces had a higher unemployment rate last month than they had the year before. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick were the only ones who saw a decrease. Of those provinces with a higher unemployment rate, Alberta was tied with Nova Scotia for the second highest increase.

Canada saw a decrease in employment last month, with jobs across the country dropped by 6,400. Québec saw the largest decrease, losing 8,500 jobs. Alberta saw the largest increase.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.5%, up from 5.4% in June.

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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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