AB lost 13,000 O&G jobs since last April

Despite Alberta gaining over 4,000 new full-time jobs last month, Alberta had the highest unemployment rate outside Atlantic Canada.

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

The net decrease to jobs between last month and March was 1,900.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job increases between March and April. There were 2,200 more men over 25 back at work last month compared to March. That number jumps to 2,800 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

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On the other hand, only 100 more women over 25 were employed in March over the previous month—but that changes to a 4,700 fewer women 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:

Mar 2023Apr 2023Change% change

Alberta saw the second largest decrease in total jobs—tied with New Brunswick—among all provinces that saw increases. They also had the third largest percentage decrease in new jobs, at 0.08%.

Ontario saw the largest increase in new jobs, with over 32,000 more people working last month than in March. PEI saw the largest percentage increase: more than 2.5%.

In Alberta, 8 job sectors saw job gains for April (with accomodation and food services seeing the highest gains: 6,300).

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

  • Business, building and other support services (-7,200)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-4,100)
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-3,800)
  • Educational services (-3,300)
  • Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,100)
  • Health care and social assistance (-400)
  • Agriculture (-300)
  • Utilities (-300)

Combined, these 9 industries lost 20,500 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job gains was “professional, scientific and technical services”. “Wholesale and retail trade” saw the largest decrease over the last year.

Mar 2023Apr 2023Change% change
Professional, scientific and technical services205,700255,70050,00024.31%
Transportation and warehousing119,100150,50031,40026.36%
Other services (except public administration)85,70095,90010,20011.90%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing121,500128,5007,0005.76%
Health care and social assistance315,300319,3004,0001.27%
Public administration108,300112,2003,9003.60%
Information, culture and recreation84,90081,400-3,500-4.12%
Accommodation and food services134,300130,400-3,900-2.90%
Business, building and other support services75,50071,000-4,500-5.96%
Educational services172,000162,500-9,500-5.52%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas145,400131,500-13,900-9.56%
Wholesale and retail trade377,300356,700-20,600-5.46%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector shrunk by 14,800 between March and April, completely wiping all the previous month’s gains. There were 900 fewer private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 4,100 over March but higher than April 2022 by 9,100. Self employed jobs were up by 8,900 over March but up by 16,000 over April 2022.

Full-time jobs made up most of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 4,300 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between March and April, and they lost 6,300 part-time jobs.

There were 9,400 fewer men full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of women who worked full-time increased by 13,400 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 2,003,100. That means that there are 116,400 more full-time jobs than there were before the UCP cut the tax on corporate profits.

Plus, this is the first time in Alberta’s history that over 2 million people were working in full-time jobs.

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 81.9%, which is barely higher than the 81.8% it was at in March. Never mind what it was back before the UCP cut the tax on corporations with more than half a million dollars in profits.

While we technically have more full-time jobs than we did 3 years ago, those jobs haven’t kept up with population growth, which means more people are working part-time jobs, relative to the number of people employed in Alberta.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers increased 46¢, from an average of $36.48 an hour in March. This is the highest the average wage for full-time workers has been since at least January 1997.

Part-time wages, on the other hand, increased, from $24.92 an hour in March to $25.40 in April, a record high. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs combined increased to $35.01 an hour last month from $34.47 in March.

By industry, wages increased in 11 of the 16 reported sectors.

Mar 2023Apr 2023Change
Other services (except public administration)$29.12$31.05$1.93
Educational services$37.22$39.04$1.82
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing$34.27$36.06$1.79
Professional, scientific and technical services$42.69$43.98$1.29
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas$52.73$53.70$0.97
Business, building and other support services$28.06$28.86$0.80
Transportation and warehousing$33.64$34.33$0.69
Wholesale and retail trade$26.55$27.00$0.45
Accommodation and food services$19.09$19.19$0.10
Information, culture and recreation$27.57$27.54-$0.03
Public administration$44.37$44.09-$0.28
Health care and social assistance$33.29$32.99-$0.30

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta saw the best performance in changes of wages. It had the largest increase in wages. Alberta also had the highest average hourly wage of all the provinces.

Mar 2023Apr 2023Change

Despite the addition of 4,300 new full-time jobs to its economy, Alberta saw its unemployment rate increase to 5.9% last month, up from 5.7% in March.

That’s because Alberta’s labour force also increased by over 2,400, so, if you have 2,400 more people available to work than in March, but 1,900 fewer jobs, then it’s going to increase how much the unemployment rate increases by.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the fourth highest. Alberta’s unemployment rate was lower than just 4 other provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador (10.1%), Prince Edward Island (7.1%), Nova Scotia (6.3%), and New Brunswick (6.1%). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 5.0% and 4.8%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.1%, nearly two full percentage points lower than Alberta’s.

As well, Alberta’s increase of 0.2 points was the fourth largest increase in unemployment in the country, behind just Nova Scotia (0.6), PEI (0.5), BC (0.5), and New Brunswick (0.3).

In April 2022, Alberta’s unemployment rate was 6.1%, just 0.2 points higher than where we were a year later. Of the 8 provinces that have lower unemployment rates than in April 2022, Alberta saw the smallest decrease, but it was tied with Québec. New Brunswick had the next smallest decrease, at 0.3 points. Newfoundland and Labrador actually saw the largest decrease, dropping 1.6 points from 11.7% to 10.1%.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country jumping up by 41,400, the bulk of which occurred in Ontario and Québec, which increased by 32,700 and 10,500, respectively. Manitoba saw the largest decrease, losing 4,000 jobs.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.0%, unchanged from January, February, and March.

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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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