Earlier this month, Statistics Canada released data on hours worked and labour productivity in 2021 for each of the provinces. So, I thought I’d take a look at it to see how things looked for Alberta specifically.
First, let’s look at labour productivity.
According to the new data, Alberta had the highest labour productivity in the country, at $81.10 per hour. This means that for every hour worked, workers added $81.10 in “real value”.
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In 2020, Alberta had the second highest labour productivity, at $86.70, just behind Newfoundland and Labrador’s $88.20.
That means that Alberta’s labour productivity dropped $5.60. Now some readers might be quick to pounce on this and say how bad the UCP are since labour productivity is down, but keep in mind that every province saw a drop in labour productivity.
Even though every province saw decreases in labour productivity last year, Alberta’s drop was the second largest in the country.
It’s only slightly better when you compare it to 2019.
Here, Alberta drops to third largest decrease. However, there were only 3 provinces—all the Prairie provinces—that saw a drop in labour productivity between 2019 and 2021. Every other province saw an increase.
Not only that, but take a look at the difference between the national average and Alberta’s labour productivity.
Not only is Alberta one of only 3 provinces that saw labour productivity drop over the last two years, but the gap between labour productivity in Alberta and the Canadian average also dropped.
Not only that, but this is the lowest the gap has been since 2013, when it was at $19.64.
Now let’s look at the number of jobs.
Alberta has the fourth largest number of “paid workers jobs”.
These are jobs held by workers whose base pay is calculated at an hourly rate, or on the basis of a fixed amount for a period of at least a week, or in the form of sales commission, piece rates, mileage allowances, and so on.
Now, keep in mind that these are jobs, not workers, so it’s possible that some jobs are filled by the same worker.
It’s not surprising that Alberta has the fourth largest number of jobs, given that they have the fourth largest population in general.
If we look at what the jobs looked like the previous year, we see that Alberta saw the fourth largest year-over-year increase, in terms of absolute numbers. They were third on a percentage basis.
However, watch what happens when we look at 2019 numbers.
Here we see that Alberta had the second worst job recovery of all the provinces over the last two years, both in terms of absolute numbers and as a percentage of 2019 job numbers. While 7 provinces in total saw worse jobs numbers than 2 years ago, Alberta’s were significantly worse. Alberta was even worse than Ontario and Québec, when you account for population.
The news doesn’t get any better if we compare job numbers to 2018, before the UCP were elected in.
Since the UCP have been in power, Alberta has been the worst performing province in terms of the number of paid workers jobs. Only two provinces saw a decline in jobs, and Alberta was the worse of the pair, at over 44,000 jobs, over 2% of 2018 numbers.
The other 8 provinces all saw gains, with Ontario gaining nearly 3 times as many jobs as Alberta lost.
And the jobs Alberta lost since 2018? They were all full-time jobs.
In 2018, Alberta had 1,717,310 paid workers jobs. 3 years later, they had 1,664,680, a loss of 52,630. Part-time jobs, on the other hand, increased by 8,310 during the same 3-year period.
But here’s something interesting. Even though Alberta has thousands of more part-time jobs than they did in 2018, the number of hours worked for part-time paid workers has actually dropped.
In 2018, part-time paid workers put in 821 hours per year, on average. By 2021, that number had dropped to 812 hours.
But with there being fewer full-time jobs, surely it means the workers still working must be putting in more hours right?
Full-time paid workers were putting in 2,045 hours a year, on average. That dropped to 2,024 hours a year by 2021.