In June, Alberta recovered only a third of its pandemic job losses

The Alberta government released their June 2020 job numbers last week, and for the second month in a row, job numbers are up. But we still have a long way to go.

The Alberta government released their June 2020 job numbers last week, and for the second month in a row, job numbers are up.

The net increase to jobs was 91,600. If we add that to the net increase of 28,200 last month, Alberta has seen 119,800 jobs “created” over the last two months.

Remember, however, that this follows two months of record job losses. Between February and April, Alberta lost 360,900 jobs, which means that there are still 241,100 lost jobs that haven’t recovered. Two-thirds of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown remain unfilled.

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Like in May, most gains were in the service sector, which saw an increase of 82,200 jobs. About 79% of the increase was made up of full-time jobs.

The report shows that the private sector grew by 91,200 between May and June, but still 234,400 fewer than this time last year. Public sector jobs were up by 7,300 over May but lower than June 2019 by 46,800. Self employed jobs were down by 7,000 over May but 15,300 higher than they were in June 2019.

Between July 2019—when Jason Kenney introduced his so-called Job Creation Tax Cut—and Feburary 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).

The full-time numbers worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with June being the first time in months that we saw an increase in full-time jobs. Alberta lost 252,800 full-time jobs during the pandemic. The increase last month brings the full-time job deficit to 180,800.

If we include all the full-time job numbers both before and during the shutdown, the total number of full-time jobs lost since July 2019 are 252,800.

That’s over 21,000 full-time jobs lost every month since last July, on average.

Despite the increase in jobs, Alberta’s unemployment rate was 15.5%, exactly where it was in May and still the highest it’s been since at least January 1976. It’s higher now than it was during the recession of the 1980s.

The increase to unemployment despite the additional jobs was because more people were back looking for work after phases 1 and 2 of reopening began: 69.1% of workers last month compared with 66.1% in May. That increased participation rate prevented the increased employment numbers from improving the unemployment rate.

Canada also saw an increase in employment, with national jobs going up by nearly 1 million, as restrictions eased throughout the country. Jobs were up in all provinces, but Ontario, Québec, and BC led the way.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 12.3% from May’s 13.7%.

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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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