AB gains 11K part-time jobs, loses 4K full-time jobs

Alberta had the highest unemployment rate in Western Canada in January 2022 and the only Western province with unemployment still over 6%.

The federal government released their January 2022 job numbers earlier this week, and job numbers are up in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs between last month and November was 7,000.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 33,400.

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Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases, by far, between December and January. There were 6,200 more women over 25 back at work last month compared to December. That number increases to 9,700 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 5,300 fewer men over 25 were employed in January over the previous month—but the loss drops to only 2,600 fewer men if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

In Alberta, 9 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “other services” seeing the highest gains: 7,700).

The finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector saw no change in employment in January 2022, but the 6 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Other services (10,600)
  • Educational services (-6,100)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (5,500)
  • Public administration (4,000)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-1,900)
  • Business, building and other support services (-200)

Combined, these 9 industries lost 27,200 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was “agriculture”. “Accommodation and food services” saw the largest increase over the last year.

Change% change
Accommodation and food services39,80046.50%
Wholesale and retail trade22,3006.70%
Information, culture & recreation15,00024.80%
Professional, scientific & technical services13,2007.40%
Health care and social assistance11,5003.70%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental & leasing9,2008.40%
Transportation & warehousing9,1007.00%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil & gas6,7004.80%
Public administration4,2004.10%
Educational services-2,300-1.40%
Other services (except pub admin)-3,600-3.70%
Business, building & other support services-4,700-6.30%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 13,800 between December and January, but there were 126,200 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 2,200 over December but higher than January 2021 by 5,900. Self employed jobs were down by 4,600 over December but there were 14,700 fewer than they were in January 2021.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 10,900 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between December and January, yet they lost 3,900 full-time jobs.

This is the first month since June 2021 that Alberta has seen a loss 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 1,864,300. That means there are 14,300 more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic.

However, 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 we’re still missing 22,400 full-time jobs, despite there being more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic hit.

Not only that, but full-time jobs 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 80.8%.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers were down 41¢ last month, from $35.19 an hour in December. This is the lowest average full-time hourly wages have been in 5 months.

Part-time wages also decreased, from $22.77 an hour in December to $22.50 in January, it’s lowest level since October. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs decreased to $32.50 an hour last month from $32.91 in December.

By industry, wages increased in only 6 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Prof., scientific and tech. services$41.20$38.35-$2.85
Bus., building and other support services$27.97$25.52-$2.45
Educational services$37.65$36.07-$1.58
Fin., ins., real estate, rental and leasing$37.16$36.14-$1.02
Accommodation and food services$18.76$18.08-$0.68
Forest, fish, mine, quarry, oil & gas$46.66$46.62-$0.04
Information, culture and recreation$28.57$28.55-$0.02
Health care and social assistance$31.18$31.17-$0.01

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 7.2%, down from 7.5% since December. This is the first time it has dropped below the 7.5% it was at prior to the pandemic.

The participation rate decreased slightly to 69.6%, compared to 69.7% in December.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth highest, being surpassed by Ontario (7.3%) and 3 of the Atlantic provinces (8.5–12.8%). In fact, it has the highest unemployment rate in Western Canada and is the only province west of Ontario with unemployment still above 6%. Manitoba’s is only 5.1%, and Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 5.1% and 5.5%, respectively.

Canada saw an decrease in employment last month, with jobs across the country dropping by 200,100, the bulk of which occurred in Ontario and Québec.

The national unemployment rate increased to 6.5%, up from December’s 6.0% but still higher than the pre-pandemic 5.7% the country saw in February 2020.

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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.

3 replies on “AB gains 11K part-time jobs, loses 4K full-time jobs”

Hi Kim,
I know that you did a piece on how the NDP did not “chase” investment out of the province.
I was wondering if you’ve considered tackling the persistent rumour that the NDP increased the size of the public service in AB. I don’t have any specifics, but I’ve read that trope a lot and I worked in healthcare and our hiring had been frozen during those years, along with wages, so I am curious about the facts. Thanks in advance!

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