Alberta gained 300 jobs last month

Full-time jobs make up a smaller percentage of total jobs than 3 years ago, and so full-time wages have dropped for 3 months.

The federal government released their July 2022 job numbers last week, and job numbers are up again in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs between last month and June was 300. That’s not a lot, but it’s enough to mark 9 months in a row that Alberta has seen an increase in total jobs.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 94,600.

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Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job increases between June and July. There were 10,800 more men over 25 back at work last month compared to June. That number drops to 8,900 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 7,400 fewer women over 25 were employed in June over the previous month—but that drops to a loss of 8,500 fewer women if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

In Alberta, 9 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “public administration” seeing the highest gains: 10,800).

The 7 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Business, building and other support services (-5,600)
  • Manufacturing (-4,200)
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-3,000)
  • Agriculture (-800)
  • Health care and social assistance (-700)
  • Construction (-200)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-200)

Combined, these 6 industries lost 14,700 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was “construction”. “Wholesale and retail trade” saw the largest increase over the last year.

Wholesale and retail trade43,60013.21%
Health care and social assistance22,4007.69%
Professional, scientific and technical services20,30010.86%
Information, culture and recreation13,30020.34%
Accommodation and food services13,20010.47%
Public administration11,30011.13%
Transportation and warehousing9,1007.17%
Other services (except public administration)6,7006.89%
Business, building and other support services3000.42%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing-1,300-1.07%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas-5,800-3.96%
Educational services-11,500-6.63%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 12,800 between June and July. There were 8,500 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 2,300 over June but higher than July 2021 by 3,100. Self employed jobs were down by 10,100 over June and were 900 fewer than they were in July 2021.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta lost 14,700 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between June and July, but they gained 15,000 full-time jobs.

There were 3,900 women full-time workers who lost jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time grew by 18,900 during the same period.

Between July 2019—when Jason Kenney introduced his so-called Job Creation Tax Cut—and February 2020, Alberta saw 4 months with drops in full-time jobs, for a total of 52,600 full-time job losses (if you account for gains made in other months).

In February 2020, there were 1,850,000 people working full-time in Alberta. Last month, that number was 1,949,400. That means there are 99,400 more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic.

As well, in June 2019, the month before the Job Creation Tax Cut came into effect, there were 1,886,700 people working full-time. That means that there are 62,700 more full-time jobs than there were before the UCP cut the tax on corporate profits.

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 82.3%. The month before, they were at 81.7%.

Which means that 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 were down 72¢ last month, from $34.74 an hour in June. This marks 3 months in a row that the average hourly wage for full-time workers as decreased. As well, this is the lowest average full-time hourly wages have been since July 2021.

Part-time wages also decreased, from $23.02 an hour in June to $21.95 in July. That a drop of more than $1 an hour and it sits at the lowest level since June 2021.

The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs decreased to $32.22 an hour last month from $32.83 in June, the third month in a row to see wage declines.

By industry, wages increased in only 4 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

For., fishing, mining, quarrying, oil & gas$47.38$44.80-$2.58
Information, culture and recreation$29.64$28.07-$1.57
Wholesale and retail trade$25.09$24.11-$0.98
Transportation and warehousing$31.38$30.54-$0.84
Health care and social assistance$32.97$32.20-$0.77
Accommodation and food services$19.35$18.70-$0.65
Business, building, other support serv$25.45$24.81-$0.64
Public administration$43.55$42.94-$0.61
Fin., ins., real estate, rental & leasing$37.35$36.99-$0.36

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the last year, Alberta was one of 5 provinces to see wage losses, but we saw the largest loss, by far, roughly 3 times as large as the losses felt by Ontario, Saskatchewan, and PEI workers.


Alberta’s unemployment rate was 4.8%, down from 4.9% in June. This is the lowest unemployment has been in Alberta during the entire time the UCP have been in power and the lowest it’s been since January 2015, before the NDP were elected.

The participation rate decreased slightly to 68.8%, compared to 69.0% in June. Alberta had 1,500 fewer people participating in the labour force last month than there were in June.

And having fewer people in the labour force will drive down the unemployment rate, which explains the 0.1 percentage point decrease in unemployment despite Alberta increasing total jobs by only 0.013%.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth lowest. It was surpassed by all the Atlantic provinces (5.7% through 10.2%) and Ontario (5.3). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.7% and 4.0%, respectively. Manitoba had the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.5%, more than a full percentage point lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an decrease in employment last month, with jobs across the country dropping by 30,600, the bulk of which occurred in Ontario, which lost over 27,000 jobs. Québec was a distant second, losing 4,500 jobs, followed by PEI, which lost 2,300.

The national unemployment rate sat at 4.9%, unchanged from June’s 4.9%. Both months are tied at the lowest it’s been since the modern data series began in 1976.

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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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