Alberta lost 13,000 full-time jobs last month

Alberta has lost over 32,000 full-time jobs in just two months.

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

The net increase to jobs between last month and August was 10,800. That’s the the first increase in total jobs since July.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases between August and September. There were 600 more men over 25 back at work last month compared to August. That number jumps to 2,400 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 14,400 more women over 25 were employed in September over the previous month—but that decreases to 8,500 more women if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

In Alberta, 8 job sectors saw job gains for September (with “educational services” seeing the highest gains: 46,000).

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

  • Manufacturing (-27,500)
  • Information, culture and recreation (-21,500)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-18,200)
  • Public administration (-11,800)
  • Construction (-3,300)
  • Agriculture (-2,900)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-2,700)
  • Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing ( -2,600)

Combined, these 8 industries lost 90,500 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses was “educational services”. “Professional, scientific and technical services” saw the largest increase over the last year.

Professional, scientific and technical services30,60015.97%
Wholesale and retail trade29,2008.49%
Health care and social assistance11,2003.73%
Information, culture and recreation7,20010.40%
Other services (except public administration)7,1007.29%
Accommodation and food services6,0004.70%
Business, building and other support services2,4003.42%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing-400-0.33%
Public administration-2,100-1.98%
Transportation and warehousing-3,600-2.64%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas-5,100-3.45%
Educational services-12,200-7.11%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 800 between August and September. There were 102,900 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 10,500 over August but lower than September 2021 by 8,900. Self employed jobs were up by 8,400 over August but but up by 2,900 over September 2021.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta lost 13,100 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between August and September, but they gained 24,000 part-time jobs. That’s on top of the 19,600 full-time jobs they lost the month before.

There were 19,900 women full-time workers who lost jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time grew by 6,800 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 1,916,700. That means that there are 40,000 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 80.8%. The month before, they were at 81.7%, and the month before that, full-time jobs were at 82.3% of total jobs.

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 up 76¢ last month, from an average of $34.33 an hour in August. This marks 2 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 also decreased, from $22.66 an hour in August to $22.50 in September.

The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs increased to $32.85 an hour last month from $32.51 in August.

By industry, wages increased in 7 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Aug 2022Sep 2022Change
Fin., ins., real estate, rental & leasing$37.52$35.64-$1.88
Educational services$37.73$36.16-$1.57
Bus., building & other support serv.$24.35$23.55-$0.80
Other services (except pub. admin)$27.85$27.07-$0.78
Accommodation & food services$18.58$18.07-$0.51
Health care & social assistance$32.69$32.50-$0.19

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the previous month, Alberta saw the third smallest increase in wages, coming ahead of only BC and Québec.

Aug 2022Sep 2022Change

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 5.5%, up from 5.4% in August.

The participation rate increased to 69% from 68.8%, which a larger percentage of the employable population participated in the labour force last month than there were in August.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is sixth highest. It was surpassed by all the Atlantic provinces (6.2% through 9.5%) and Ontario (5.8%). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.3% and 4.1%, respectively. Saskatchewan had the lowest unemployment rate, more than a full percentage point lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with jobs across the country jumping up by 21,200, the bulk of which occurred in BC, which increased by 32,900 jobs. Alberta was a distant second, gaining 10,800 jobs, followed by Manitoba, which gained 6,900.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.2%, down from August’s 5.4%.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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