AB’s avg hourly wage drops to 3rd place

British Columbia wages had been slowly gaining on Alberta throughout 2023, coming within just 2¢ in September. Last month, they were 55¢ higher.

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

The net increase to jobs between last month and September was 37,700, virtually reversing the losses the province saw in September.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job increases between September and October. There were 14,900 more men over 25 at work last month compared to September. That number jumps to 28,600, however, if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

Support independent journalism

On the other hand, 9,500 more women over 25 were employed in October over the previous month—but that drops slightly to 9,100 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:

Sep 2023Oct 2023Change% change

Alberta saw the largest increase in total jobs among all provinces that saw increases, which amounted to more than 1.5% of its total workforce. The month before, Alberta had seen the largest decrease.

This time, however, Québec saw the largest decrease in new jobs, with 22,100 fewer people working last month than in September. Nova Scotia saw the largest percentage increase: 1.66%.

In Alberta, 14 job sectors saw job gains for September (with wholesale and retail trade seeing the highest gains: 12,500).

The other 2 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

Professional, scientific & technical services-3,700
Health care & social assistance-2,800

Combined, these 2 industries lost over 6,500 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job gains was “health care and social assistance”. “Construction” saw the largest decrease over the last year.

Oct 2022Oct 2023Change% change
Health care & social assistance305,400327,50022,1007.24%
Transportation & warehousing135,000151,70016,70012.37%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil & gas132,200144,60012,4009.38%
Accommodation & food services128,700140,20011,5008.94%
Wholesale & retail trade363,200373,20010,0002.75%
Business, building & other support services72,70080,2007,50010.32%
Information, culture & recreation76,50082,8006,3008.24%
Other services (except public administration)95,60099,8004,2004.39%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental & leasing128,400131,1002,7002.10%
Public administration111,100112,2001,1000.99%
Educational services163,500162,100-1,400-0.86%
Professional, scientific & technical services232,600230,900-1,700-0.73%

The report from Statistics Canada also shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by only 200 between September and October; however, there were 353,300 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 18,900 over September but higher than October 2022 by 100,700. Self employed jobs were down by 1,700 over September but up by only 47,100 over October 2022.

Full-time jobs made up most of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 6,200 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between September and October, and they gained 31,500 full-time jobs.

Keep in mind that Alberta lost 62,600 full-time jobs the month before, the largest loss in full-time jobs since April 2020, one month into the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we’re still missing about half of those full-time jobs.

There were 22,500 men full-time workers who got new jobs last month. By comparison, the number of women who worked full-time increased by only 9,000 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 2,039,000. That means that there are 152,300 more full-time jobs than there were before the UCP cut the tax on corporate profits.

While more full-time jobs does seem like a good thing, keep in mind that 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 82.50% of all jobs in the province.

Last month, they were at 81.99%, meaning that we have a smaller percentage of Alberta workers being employed in full-time positions than we did before the Job Creation Tax Cut.

Even though more people are working full-time now than in June 2019, there are more people working overall. Which means that full-time job growth hasn’t kept up with population growth.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers in Alberta increased by 49¢, from an average of $37.60 an hour in September.

Part-time wages, on the other hand, decreased from $25.87 an hour in September to $24.90 in October. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs combined increased by 58¢, from $35.61 an hour to $35.03 an hour.

Alberta has the third highest average full-time hourly wage, behind British Columbia and Ontario.


We had the second highest average hourly wage for part-time workers, however.


By industry, wages increased in just 6 of the 16 reported sectors.

Sep 2023Oct 2023Change
Public administration$44.60$46.19$1.59
Information, culture & recreation$27.48$28.67$1.19
Business, building & other support services$25.93$26.88$0.95
Health care & social assistance$34.14$34.26$0.12
Accommodation & food services$18.96$18.70-$0.26
Wholesale & retail trade$27.19$26.35-$0.84
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental & leasing$44.16$43.04-$1.12
Other services (except public administration)$30.45$29.25-$1.20
Professional, scientific & technical services$46.91$45.56-$1.35
Transportation & warehousing$35.41$34.05-$1.36
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil & gas$53.27$51.50-$1.77
Educational services$39.59$37.19-$2.40

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta had the worst change in wages among all provinces.

Alberta had the third highest average hourly wage of all the provinces, down from the highest in September.

In August, BC was 16¢ behind Alberta in average hourly wage. In September, it was just 2¢ behind. Last month, it was 55¢ ahead of Alberta. Ontario is 26¢ ahead.

Sep 2023Oct 2023Change

Alberta saw its unemployment rate increase slightly to 5.8% last month, up from 5.7% in September. This is the highest it’s been since July, when it was 6.1%, and the second highest since April.

Alberta’s labour force also increased last month by 42,900, so, if you have 42,900 more people available to work than in September, but 37,700 more people actually working, then it’s not surprising that the unemployment rate increased.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the fifth lowest. Alberta’s unemployment rate was higher than just 4 other provinces: British Columbia (5.4%), Manitoba (5.2%), Québec (4.9%), and Saskatchewan (4.4%).

For months, Alberta had the distinction of having the highest unemployment outside of Atlantic Canada. That now falls to Ontario, with a jobless rate of 6.2%. We’ll need more than three months to see whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of an upward trend.

As far as change in unemployment rate, four of the provinces—Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan—saw decreases. Everyone else saw an increase.

That being said, Alberta’s unemployment rate in October 2022 was 5.4%, 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, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan were the only ones who saw a decrease. Of those provinces with a higher unemployment rate, Alberta saw the second lowest increase since October 2022.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country rising by 17,500. Alberta saw the largest share of those jobs (37,700), followed by Saskatchewan (9,100) and Nova Scotia (8,200).

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.7%, up from 5.5 %, which is where it sat in July, August, and September.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.