Alberta lost 20,000 full-time jobs last month

That number increases to 25,000 if you look at just full-time workers who are women.

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

The net decrease to jobs between last month and July was 6,500. That’s the the first decrease in total jobs in 9 months.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 88,100.

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Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job increases between July and August. There were 12,200 more men over 25 back at work last month compared to July. That number drops to 5,800 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 11,900 fewer women over 25 were employed in August over the previous month—but that increases to a loss of 12,300 fewer 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 August (with “information, culture and recreation” seeing the highest gains: 10,800).

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

  • Construction (-10,600)
  • Accomodation and food services (-7,300)
  • Educational services (-6,000)
  • Health care and social assistance (-5,300)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-4,600)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-3,300)
  • Public administration (-3,000)
  • Other services (except public administration) (-700)

Combined, these 8 industries lost 40,800 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 trade39,80012.1%
Professional, scientific and technical services23,10012.2%
Information, culture and recreation15,70022.1%
Health care and social assistance15,6005.3%
Public administration7,3007.1%
Other services (except public administration)6,5006.7%
Business, building and other support services4,0005.8%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing2,3001.9%
Accommodation and food services1,7001.3%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas6000.4%
Transportation and warehousing-4,900-3.6%
Educational services-17,600-10.1%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector shrunk by 10,500 between July and August. There were 104,000 more private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 3,000 over July but higher than August 2021 by 9,800. Self employed jobs were up by 6,900 over July but unchanged over August 2021.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta lost 19,600 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between July and August, but they gained 13,100 part-time jobs.

There were 24,500 women full-time workers who lost jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time grew by 4,900 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 1,929,800. That means there are 79,800 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 43,100 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 81.7%. The month before, they were at 82.3%.

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 31¢ last month, from $34.02 an hour in July. This marks the first time since April that the average hourly wage for full-time workers has increased. Even so, it’s still lower than the $34.74 it was at in June.

Part-time wages also increased, from $21.95 an hour in July to $22.66 in August.

The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs increased to $32.51 an hour last month from $32.22 in July.

By industry, wages increased in 8 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

Professional, scientific and technical services$43.13$41.67-$1.46
Other services (except public administration)$28.39$27.85-$0.54
Public administration$42.94$42.43-$0.51
Business, building and other support services$24.81$24.35-$0.46
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas$44.80$44.66-$0.14
Accommodation and food services$18.70$18.58-$0.12
Wholesale and retail trade$24.11$24.09-$0.02

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the last year, Alberta saw the second large increase in wages, coming behind only Ontario.

Jul 2022Aug 2022Change

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 5.4%, down from 4.8% in July. 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 remained at 68.8%; although Alberta had 6,800 more people participating in the labour force last month than there were in July.

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 (7.3% through 10.5%) and Ontario (5.7). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.8% and 4.9%, respectively. Québec had the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.5%, nearly a full percentage point lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an decrease in employment last month, with jobs across the country dropping by 39,700, the bulk of which occurred in BC, which lost over 28,000 jobs. Ontario was a distant second, losing 19,200 jobs, followed by Manitoba, which lost 10,000. Alberta saw the fourth largest number of total jobs.

The national unemployment rate sat at 5.4%, up from July’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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