Alberta jobless rate 4th highest in Canada

Alberta’s unemployment rate was lower than just 3 other provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador (10.1%), New Brunswick (8.1%), and Nova Scotia (6.7%).

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

The net increase to jobs between last month and November was 24,500. That follows a decrease of 15,100 in total jobs the previous month.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job increases between November and December. There were 14,400 more men over 25 back at work last month compared to November. That number jumps to 19,000 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, only 500 more women over 25 were employed in December over the previous month—but that changes to 5,500 more women 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:

Nov 2022Dec 2022Change% change

Alberta saw the second largest increase in total jobs, behind only Ontario. However, their increase, relative to the number of employed workers in November, was actually the third largest, behind Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Manitoba.

In Alberta, 10 job sectors saw job gains for November (with construction seeing the highest gains: 12,500).

The 6 remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-6,600)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-6,400)
  • Utilities (-4,400)
  • Other services (except public administration) (-2,700)
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-1,700)
  • Agriculture (-500)

Combined, these 6 industries lost 22,300 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job gains was “professional, scientific and technical services”. “Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas” saw the largest decrease over the last year.

Dec 2021Dec 2022Change% change
Professional, scientific and technical services196,600228,90032,30016.43%
Information, culture and recreation68,10083,10015,00022.03%
Other services (except public administration)103,300110,5007,2006.97%
Health care and social assistance313,400319,7006,3002.01%
Business, building and other support services70,30075,0004,7006.69%
Accommodation and food services124,100128,5004,4003.55%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing118,200119,1009000.76%
Educational services164,300165,1008000.49%
Wholesale and retail trade354,800354,500-300-0.08%
Transportation and warehousing137,500135,300-2,200-1.60%
Public administration111,100108,600-2,500-2.25%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas143,000138,300-4,700-3.29%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 15,100 between November and December. There were 64,700 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 5,600 over November but lower than December 2021 by 12,300. Self employed jobs were up by 3,900 over November but up by 36,400 over December 2021.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 41,200 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between November and December, but they lost 4,900 part-time jobs.

There were 17,900 women full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time shrunk by 23,300 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 1,961,900. That means that there are 75,200 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 82.1%.

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 up 3¢ last month, from an average of $35.58 an hour in November. This marks 5 months of wage increases in Alberta, but they’re still lower than they were in April, when they sat at $35.86.

Part-time wages increased from $23.05 an hour in November to $23.26 in December.

The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs increased to $33.50 an hour last month from $33.41 in November.

By industry, wages increased in 10 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Nov 2022Dec 2022Change
Transportation & warehousing$33.71$32.97-$0.74
Information, culture & recreation$30.35$29.89-$0.46
Fin., ins., real estate, rental, leasing$35.75$35.36-$0.39
Health care & social assistance$33.11$32.76-$0.35
Educational services$35.72$35.53-$0.19
Other services (except pub. admin.)$27.70$27.69-$0.01

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta saw the fourth largest increase in wages, coming behind only Saskatchewan, Québec, and Nova Scotia.

Alberta’s wage increase was also larger than the change in the national average wage increase, which decreased by 5¢ an hour.

Nov 2022Dec 2022Change

Despite the addition of nearly 25,000 new jobs to its economy, Alberta saw its unemployment rate remain at 5.8% last month, which is where it sat in November.

That’s because Alberta’s labour force also increased by nearly 25,000, which means all the new jobs were swallowed up by the new workers. Even then, there were 200 new people in the labour force who didn’t end up with a job.

The participation rate was relatively unchanged, increasing slightly from 68.6% to 69.1%.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is fourth highest. It was surpassed by 3 of the Atlantic provinces: Alberta’s unemployment rate was lower than just 3 other provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador (10.1%), New Brunswick (8.1%), and Nova Scotia (6.7%). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.0%, nearly two full percentage points lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country jumping up by 104,000, the bulk of which occurred in Ontario, which increased by 42,100. Alberta’s gain of 24,500 jobs was the second largest increase of all the provinces. New Brunswick was the only other province that saw job decreases last month, with jobs dropping by 300.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.0%, down slightly from November’s 5.1%.

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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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