Alberta gained over 20,000 full-time jobs in Jul 2021

The month before, it lost 37,000 full-time jobs.

The federal government released their July 2021 job numbers last week, and job numbers are up in Alberta for the first time in 4 months.

The net increase to jobs between last month and June was 12,300.

Alberta had seen job increases for 7 months in a row, since last May. During that time, it had seen 258,100 jobs “created”. We saw job losses this past November and December, then gains for the first 3 months of 2021. With this new gain, the total jobs increase since the economy reopened last May is at 308,900. That means the increases in January through March—and now July—make up for the losses seen in November, December, April, May, and June.

Remember, however, that these 308,900 new jobs follow two months of record job losses. Between February and April last year, Alberta lost 360,900 jobs, which means that there are still 52,000 lost jobs that haven’t recovered. About 1 in 7 of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown—14.4% actually—remains unfilled.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases, by far. There were 2,100 more men over 25 out of work last month compared to June. That number increases to 15,900 if you include those who are 15–24 years old. On the other hand, 2,800 more women over 25 were employed in July over the previous month—but it drops to 3,500 fewer women if you include the younger group.

In Alberta, half of the job sectors saw job gains for July (with Transportation and warehousing seeing the highest gains: 8,000). And 1 of those sectors gained fewer than 1000 jobs.

Of the remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada, 8 saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Other (-3,700)
  • Educational services (-2,700)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-2,600)
  • Business, building and other support services (-2,100)
  • Health care and social assistance (-1,800)
  • Accommodation and food services (-800)
  • Public administration (-600)
  • Utilities (-600)

Combined, these 8 industries lost 14,900 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was information, culture and recreation. Educational services saw the largest increase over the last year, which makes it two months of consecutive year-over-year increases.

Change% change
Educational services37,40027.6%
Wholesale and retail trade26,1008.7%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil, gas 19,00014.8%
Professional, scientific and technical services18,90011.3%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, leasing16,20015.3%
Accommodation and food services12,30010.8%
Transportation and warehousing9,0007.7%
Public administration1,2001.2%
Business, building and other support services-100-0.1%
Health care and social assistance-2,300-0.8%
Other services (except public administration)-4,900-4.8%
Information, culture and recreation-8,700-11.7%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 13,900 between June and July, but there were 109,400 more private sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 600 over June but higher than July 2020 by 25,900. Self employed jobs were down by 1,000 over June and 15,800 lower than they were in July 2020.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job gains. Alberta gained 20,100 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between June and July, but lost 7,800 part-time jobs. Keep in mind that we lost 37,000 full-time jobs the month before.

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).

Full-time numbers worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with June through October 2020 being the only months when we saw an increase in full-time jobs. Alberta lost 252,800 full-time jobs during the pandemic last year. The increases over those 5 months brought the full-time job deficit down to 95,300. If we add in the gains between January, May, and July this year, as well as the losses from the others months, that full-time deficit decreases to 77,400.

If we include all the full-time job numbers both before and during the shutdown, the total net number of full-time jobs lost since July 2019 are 130,000.

That’s 5,417 full-time jobs lost every month since July 2019, on average.

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 8.5%, down 0.8 points since June, and erasing the 0.6 points it had dropped by between May and June. This is the sixth time during the pandemic that it’s been below 10%, but it’s still higher than the 7.2% it was at prior to the pandemic.

The participation rate decreased slightly to 69.0% since June, which means fewer people are actually looking for work. So, while 12,300 jobs were gained last month, 300 fewer people were now being counted in the labour force.

And since the unemployment rate is the percentage of the labour force not employed, having a lower participation rate will cause your unemployment rate to fall.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth highest, being surpassed by all four of the Atlantic provinces.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with national jobs going up by 94,000.

The national unemployment rate decreased to 7.5%, down from June’s 7.8% but still higher than the pre-pandemic 5.6% the country saw in February 2020.

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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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