Last week, Statistics Canada released updated data on employment and average weekly earnings for each of the provinces. The new seasonally adjusted data was as of August 2022.
I figured I’d take a look to see how the job situation looks in Alberta.
This data is different from the labour force data I reported on for August, in that this specifically reports on workers who are on payroll.
Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the fourth largest number of payroll employees in Canada. After all, they do have the fourth largest population in general.
In August 2022, there were 2,052,589 payroll employees working in Alberta. The month before, that number was 2,049,116. That’s a 3,473 increase, the second largest increase in the country.
|Jul 2022||Aug 2022||Change||% change|
When we look at the increase as a percentage of July’s job numbers, we see that Alberta drops down to 7th place, however, surpassed by every other province, except for New Brunswick, Ontario, and Québec.
However, Alberta had the fourth largest increase when we compare to August 2021, a year earlier and a little over a year after the province first introduced public health protections related to the pandemic.
|Aug 2021||Aug 2022||Change||% change|
As I said at the outset, this shouldn’t be that surprising, given that we have the fourth largest population in general. Alberta is also in fourth place in terms of percentage change over the last year.
Here’s what job numbers look like when we compare August 2022 to August 2020, five months into the pandemic.
|Aug 2020||Aug 2022||Change||% change|
Alberta has seen the fourth largest increase in total jobs over the last two years, as well as relative to the number of jobs they had in August 2020.
But look how bad things are if we go 3 years out, to August 2019, two months month after the UCP cut the corporate profit tax, what they called a “Job Creation Tax Cut”.
|Aug 2019||Aug 2022||Change||% change|
Alberta’s growth in payroll employees since August 2019 was the 5th highest of all the provinces in Canada. However, relative to where we were in June 2019, Alberta has seen the worst job creation record of all the provinces, with an increase of only 0.86%.
Keep in mind that Alberta’s population increased by 4.1% during the same period. So the province’s population growth was nearly 5 times faster than its payroll employee growth.
No other province saw such a small increase, in percentages. The next lowest increase—Newfoundland and Labrador, at 0.98%—was pretty close, but the next smallest was Saskatchewan, at 2.21%, which was 2.5 times larger than Alberta’s.
Ontario saw an increase in over 166,000 payroll employees during the same period, nearly 10 times what Alberta saw. BC and Québec both passed the 100,000 mark. And PEI grew their number of payroll employees by 8.11%.
Here’s how the jobs in Alberta have changed over the last 3 years, by industry.
|Aug 2019||Aug 2022||Change||% change|
|Health care & social assistance||218,904||233,783||14,879||6.80%|
|Professional, scientific & technical services||119,261||130,246||10,985||9.21%|
|Finance and insurance||63,640||68,778||5,138||8.07%|
|Transportation & warehousing||106,863||109,891||3,028||2.83%|
|Forestry, logging & support||3,867||3,932||65||1.68%|
|Arts, entertainment & recreation||39,391||38,761||-630||-1.60%|
|Information & cultural industries||27,907||26,721||-1,186||-4.25%|
|Management of companies & enterprises||19,528||17,531||-1,997||-10.23%|
|Mining, quarrying, and oil & gas extraction||101,683||98,515||-3,168||-3.12%|
|Real estate & rental and leasing||43,073||38,975||-4,098||-9.51%|
|Other services (except public administration)||76,862||72,643||-4,219||-5.49%|
|Administrative & support, waste management & remediation services||97,076||90,285||-6,791||-7.00%|
|Accommodation and food services||166,181||158,698||-7,483||-4.50%|
Only 8 out of 20 total industries have seen a net increase in payroll employees over the last 3 years. The other 12 all saw losses, the largest of which was in the hospitality sector, which lost nearly 7,500 payroll employees.
And that’s despite having a job vacancy rate less than the national rate.
The job vacancy rate is the number of job vacancies expressed as a percentage of labour demand.
And, as you can see from the above table, Alberta had the fifth lowest job vacancy rate in Canada this past August. The national rate was 5.4%.
You’d think that a province with such a low vacancy rate wouldn’t have so many jobs still missing.
In fact, according to Statistics Canada, Alberta still has 106,215 payroll employee vacancies. Seems weird that we increased our payroll workforce by less than one percent over the last 3 years.