Alberta gains 20,000 part-time jobs, loses 4,000 full-time jobs

Alberta has the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada, and it hasn’t decreased despite there being more people working.

The federal government released their November 2021 job numbers earlier this week, and job numbers are up in Alberta.

The net increase to jobs between last month and October was 15,000, but they were down by 9,000 the month before, so it’s more like a net increase of 6,400.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 10,100.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases, by far, between October and November. There were 15,400 more women over 25 back at work last month compared to October. However, considering that 15,600 women lost their jobs in October, this doesn’t seem like a real gain. Either way, that number drops to 13,700 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 4,100 fewer men over 25 were employed in November over the previous month—but it improves slightly to 1,700 fewer women if you include the younger group.

In Alberta, 8 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “other services” seeing the highest gains: 7,700).

The 8 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Educational services (-5,500)
  • Manufacturing (-2,000)
  • Public administration (-1,900)
  • Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,600)
  • Information, culture and recreation (-800)
  • Accomodation and food services (-500)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (-400)
  • Business, building and other support services (-200)

Combined, these 9 industries lost 12,900 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

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

Change% change
Wholesale and retail trade40,20012.5%
Professional, scientific and technical services19,40011.2%
Educational services17,40011.7%
Business, building and other support services11,20018.6%
Transportation and warehousing9,4007.2%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, leasing9,2008.2%
Accommodation and food services5,5004.9%
Health care and social assistance5,2001.7%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas4,8003.6%
Public administration4,4004.3%
Other services (except public administration)-1,600-1.6%
Information, culture and recreation-3,800-5.2%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 17,300 between October and November, but there were 99,600 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 10,500 over October but higher than November 2020 by 2,700. Self employed jobs were up by 8,700 over October but up by only 3,300 than they were in November 2020.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 19,400 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between October and November, yet they lost 3,800 full-time jobs.

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 1,846,800 people working full-time in Alberta. Last month, that number was 1,848,900. That means there are 2,100 more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic.

However, in June 2019, the month before the Job Creation Tax Cut came into effect, there were 1,889,400 people working full-time. that means that we’re still missing 40,500 full-time jobs, despite there being more people working full-time now than there were just before the pandemic hit.

Not only that, but 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 82.5% of all jobs in the province. Last month, they were 81.1%.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers were up 25¢ last month, from $32.20 an hour in October. Part-time wage, on the other hand, decreased, from $21.29 an hour in October to $21.14 in November. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs increased to $30.40 an hour last month from $30.26 in October.

By industry, wages increased in most sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Wholesale & retail trade23.1622.97-0.19
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental…35.8135.63-0.18
Business, building, other support…23.5823.45-0.13
Educational services36.0335.93-0.10

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 7.6%, unchanged since October. This is the 9th 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 increased to 69.2% compared to October. A higher participation rate means more people are looking for work, which could lead to an increase in unemployment, even if the number of jobs increases.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fifth highest, being surpassed by all the Atlantic provinces. In fact, it has the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada. Plus. it’s the only province west of the St. Lawrence with unemployment still above 7%. Manitoba’s is only 5.1%, and Saskatchewan is neck and neck at 5.2%.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country going up by 153,700.

The national unemployment rate decreased to 6.0%, down from October’s 6.7% but still higher than the pre-pandemic 5.7% 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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