Alberta lost 37,000 full-time jobs in June 2021

Full-time jobs were down by 37,000. Part-time jobs were up by 36,800.

The federal government released their June 2021 job numbers last week, and job numbers are down in Alberta for the third month in a row.

The net decrease to jobs between last month and May was just 200.

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. Even with this new loss, the total jobs increase since the economy reopened last May is at 296,600. That means the increases in January through March make up for the losses seen in November and December, and now April, May, and June.

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Remember, however, that these 296,600 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 64,300 lost jobs that haven’t recovered. About 1 in 6 of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown—17.8% actually—remains unfilled.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, men workers saw the larger job loses, by far. There were 5,300 fewer men over 25 out of work last month compared to May. That number increases to 18,200 if you include those who are 15–24 years old. On the other hand, 9,200 more women over 25 were employed in June over the previous month— 17,900 if you include the younger group.

In Alberta, only 5 sectors saw job gains for June (with accommodation and food services seeing the highest gains: 32,000). And 1 of those sectors gained fewer than 1000 jobs.

Of the remaining sectors reported by Statistics Canada, 11 saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Construction (-14,700)
  • Health care and social assistance (-10,000)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-7,100)
  • Manufacturing (-5,700)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (-4,600)
  • Utilities (-2,100)
  • Information, culture and recreation (-1,900)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (-1,300)
  • Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,200)
  • Agriculture (-900)
  • Business, building and other support services (-200)

Combined, these 9 industries lost 49,700 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.

Change% change
Educational services42,30031.8%
Wholesale and retail trade39,30013.5%
Accommodation and food services29,00029.5%
Professional, scientific and technical services23,40014.8%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas20,00016.1%
Transportation and warehousing8,2007.4%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing6,9006.2%
Other services (except public administration)6,0006.3%
Health care and social assistance2,0000.7%
Public administration00.0%
Business, building and other support services-2,800-3.6%
Information, culture and recreation-12,500-17.1%

The public administration sector saw no net change in jobs over the last year.

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector shrunk by 1,200 between May and June, but there were 146,700 more private sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 6,600 over May but higher than June 2020 by 37,600. Self employed jobs were up by 7,600 over May and 12,900 lower than they were in June 2020.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains. Alberta gained 36,800 full-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between May and June, but lost 37,000 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).

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 and May this year and the losses from the others months, that full-time deficit increases to 97,500.

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 150,100.

That’s 6,526 full-time jobs lost every month since July 2019, on average.

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 9.3%, up 0.6 points since May, and erasing the 0.3 points it had dropped by between April and May. This is the fifth 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 slightly to 69.3% since March, which means more people are actually looking for work. So, while only 200 jobs were lost last month, 16,800 more people were now being counted in the labour force, likely because of the easing of restrictions implemented by the Alberta government.

And since the unemployment rate is the percentage of the labour force not employed, having a higher participation rate will cause your unemployment rate to rise. For example, while the unemployment rate increased from 8.7% to 9.3%, the employment rate stayed the same, at 62.8%.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is tied with New Brunswick’s for third highest. Only Newfoundland and Labrador and PEI have higher unemployment rates.

Canada saw an increase in employment last month, with national jobs going up by 230,700.

The national unemployment rate decreased to 7.8%, down from May’s 8.2% 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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