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Alberta lost over 10,000 private sector jobs last month

Full-time jobs were down, and so were full-time wages.

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

The net increase to jobs between last month and May was 2,000.

Compared to February 2020, the month before the Alberta government implemented pandemic restrictions for the first time, total jobs are up 94,300.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers saw the larger job increases between May and June. There were 6,600 more women over 25 back at work last month compared to May. That number inccreases to 11,000 if you include those who are 15–24 years old.

On the other hand, 8,200 fewer men over 25 were employed in June over the previous month—but the loss decreases to 9,100 fewer men if you include the younger group.

Statistics Canada provided no data on non-binary workers.

In Alberta, 10 job sectors saw job gains for November (with “professional, scientific and technical services” seeing the highest gains: 10,800).

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

  • Wholesale and retail trade (-21,700)
  • Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-10,500)
  • Educational services (-9,200)
  • Accomodation and food services (-2,300)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (-1,400)
  • Utilities (-1,300)

Combined, these 6 industries lost 46,400 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 trade38,70011.64%
Health care and social assistance21,9007.49%
Professional, scientific and technical services20,90011.33%
Information, culture and recreation17,70029.26%
Transportation and warehousing15,80013.11%
Construction13,3006.08%
Accommodation and food services11,6009.25%
Public administration9,4009.33%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing6,0005.14%
Business, building and other support services4,6006.34%
Other services (except public administration)3,1003.10%
Agriculture1,6004.48%
Utilities1,5008.15%
Manufacturing-400-0.32%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas-4,100-2.85%
Educational services-14,500-8.31%

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector shrunk by 10,400 between May and June, nearly wiping out the 13,300 the sector gained in May. There were 700 fewer private-sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 7,700 over May but higher than June 2021 by only 1,700. Self employed jobs were up by 4,700 over April and were 1,400 more than they were in June 2021.

Part-time jobs made up all of the job gains last month. Alberta gained 8,500 part-time jobs (seasonally adjusted) between May and June, but they lost 6,400 full-time jobs.

There were 7,500 women full-time workers who gained jobs last month. By comparison, the number of men who worked full-time fell by 13,900 during the same period.

This is the first time since February that Alberta has seen a drop in 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 1,850,000 people working full-time in Alberta. Last month, that number was 1,934,400. That means there are 84,400 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 47,700 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 82.04%.

Speaking of full-time jobs, wages for full-time workers were down 25¢ last month, from $34.99 an hour in May. This is the lowest average full-time hourly wages have been since September 2021.

Part-time wages, on the other hand, had increased, from $23.00 an hour in May to $23.02 in June, it’s the highest level since February 2021. The average wage for both full-time and part-time jobs decreased to $32.83 an hour last month from $33.06 in May, the second month in a row to see wage declines.

By industry, wages increased in only 6 of the 16 reported sectors. However, the following sectors saw wage decreases:

MayJuneChange
Agriculture$24.28$21.92-$2.36
Public administration$45.21$43.55-$1.66
Manufacturing$33.80$32.43-$1.37
Wholesale & retail trade$26.10$25.09-$1.01
Transportation & warehousing$32.26$31.38-$0.88
Fin., ins., real estate, rental & leasing$38.22$37.35-$0.87
Other services (except public admin.)$28.40$27.69-$0.71
Business, building, other support services$26.12$25.45-$0.67
Construction$34.30$34.20-$0.10
For., fishing, mining, quarrying, oil & gas$47.46$47.38-$0.08

When we compare wage growth of all the provinces over the last year, Alberta has the second worst performance, one of 4 provinces to see wage losses.

MayJuneChange
PEI$26.20$25.65-$0.55
AB$33.06$32.83-$0.23
NS$27.09$26.89-$0.20
SK$29.90$29.74-$0.16
NL$28.45$28.53$0.08
QC$30.46$30.58$0.12
MB$27.34$27.52$0.18
BC$31.33$31.51$0.18
NB$26.74$26.97$0.23
ON$31.89$32.14$0.25

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 4.9%, down from 5.3% in February. 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 November 2014, before the NDP were elected.

The participation rate decreased slightly to 69.0%, compared to 69.2% in February. Alberta had 7,100 fewer people participating in the labour force last month than there were in May.

As far as how it compares with the rest of the country, Alberta’s unemployment rate is tied with PEI for fifth lowest. It was surpassed by the other Atlantic provinces (6.1% through 9.9%) and Ontario (5.1). Alberta’s neighbours—BC and Saskatchewan—are at 4.6% and 3.9%, respectively. Manitoba had the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.8%, more than a full percentage point lower than Alberta’s.

Canada saw an decrease in employment last month, with jobs across the country dropping by 43,200, the bulk of which occurred in Québec and Ontario, both of which lost over 20,000 jobs. Newfoundland and Labrador was third with a loss of 4,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased to 4.9%, the same as Alberta’s, down from May’s 5.1%, and 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 journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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