Alberta FT jobs lagging behind rest of country

Since the UCP were elected, Alberta has been accounting for a smaller and smaller share of the national number of full-time jobs.

Earlier this month, I wrote a couple of articles that covered full-time jobs in Alberta. I did one on March’s employment numbers and one on clarifying cherry picked data Doug Schweitzer—Alberta’s economy minister—used in a recent statement on the provincial economy.

I was curious about how Alberta’s declining full-time job numbers compared to Canada’s. So, I checked full-time job data for the past year, for the last 3 years of the UCP’s term, and for the last 15 years.

Specifically, I looked at Alberta’s full-time jobs as a percentage of Canada’s full-time jobs.

For example, last month, Alberta had 1.87 million full-time workers. Canada, on the other hand, had 15.93 million. That means Alberta accounted for 11.74% of all of Canada’s full-time jobs.

Now, this is up slightly from the month before, when it was 11.71%. However, it’s down from the 11.86% in January.

In fact, this is the second lowest the percentage has been in Alberta of any March since 2006.

Here’s a look of every March over the last 16 years.

What we see in this graph is that for the first 8 years—more or less—Alberta had been bringing in an increasing percentage of Canada’s full-time jobs.

Then we saw a drop in that percentage in 2015, and it continued to drop for another 2 years, before levelling out for a couple others. Finally, in 2020, it started dropping again, before finally starting to rise slightly over the last year.

And while the last year had seen the second lowest, the year before was the lowest, with March 2021 dropping to 11.63%, something not seen since 2005.

As well, March 2020 was the fourth lowest level (11.95%), making three years in a row that Alberta dropped below 12%. Until 2020, Alberta hadn’t been below 12% since 2006. The fifth lowest was 12.18%, which was reached in 2007, and was while Alberta was climbing in full-time job creation.

And while March 2022 is technically higher than March 2021, only time will tell whether that’s part of a new trend or an anomaly.

Either way, it’s clear that despite implementing a Job Creation Tax Cut, the UCP government doesn’t seem to be following through on their campaign promise to create jobs.

At least not full-time jobs.

After all, our unemployment level—despite being the third highest in the nation last month—is higher than they were prior to the pandemic. In fact, it’s higher than it was before the UCP were even elected.

And yet, we’re still missing over 16,000 full-time jobs, compared to June 2019, the month before the Job Creation Tax Cut. And during that same period, full-time jobs have gone from accounting for 82.5% of all jobs in Alberta to 80.5%.

So, while employment has started to improve under the UCP, so far, it’s primarily part-time employment.

Here’s a look at Alberta’s share of Canadian full-time jobs since the UCP were elected.

The last bit of the graph does show that this metric may have stopped decreasing, and there may even be a bit of a slow, gradual increase. And unless that increase accelerates, it’s going to be a long time before we see numbers like we saw in 2014, when Alberta full-time jobs made up 13.07% of all Canadian full-time jobs.

Furthermore, between March 2019 and March 2022, Canadian full-time jobs increased from 15.278 million to 15.929 million, a 4.267% jump.

Alberta’s full-time jobs, during the same period, dropped 0.18%.

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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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