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Part-time jobs on the rise in Alberta

Over the last decade, part-time workers have been making up an ever-increasing percentage of total workers in Alberta.

I was recently reviewing employment data from Statistics Canada when I got curious about the relationship between full-time jobs and part-time jobs in Alberta.

So I extracted 10 years worth of data for full-time and part-time jobs in the province to compare them.

In December 2021, there were 1,868,200 full-time jobs in Alberta and 431,600 part-time jobs. Full-time jobs made up 81.23% of all jobs and part-time jobs made up 18.77%.

By comparison, in 2011, those percentages were 83.27% full-time and 16.73% part-time.

Here, take a look at these two charts.

What we clearly see is that over the last decade, full-time workers—as a share of total workers—have decreased, while part-time workers have increased.

Of particular note is the spring of 2020, when we see a spike in full-time workers and corresponding fall in part-time workers, right at the beginning of the COVDI-19 pandemic.

Between February and April 2020, about 130,000 part-time workers lost their jobs, compared to 212,500 full-time workers. And while that may seem like less, when we look at the two numbers as percentages of workers, 30.7% of part-time workers lost their jobs during those 2 months, compared to 11.5% of full-time workers.

Part-time workers bore the brunt of the attack on labour during the beginning months of the pandemic.

Anyhow, back to the past 10 years.

Here are two more charts, this time showing the percentage of full-time and part-time workers but as annual averages.

Once again, we see that over the last 10 years, full-time workers have decreased as a proportion of total workers in the workforce, while part-time workers have increased.

The largest increase in the average share of part-time workers occurred in 2016, while the NDP were in power, when the average jumped 1.69 points, from 17.04% to 18.57%.

The next largest increase was actually last year, when it jumped from 18.21% to 18.96%, an increase of 0.75 points.

Now, let’s compare the December of each year.

Yep. Still showing an increase in the percentage of part-time jobs and a decrease in the percentage of full-time jobs.

One more stat.

Here are the 10 months with the highest percentages of part-time jobs.

Nov 202020.34%
Jun 202119.87%
Jan 201719.73%
Mar 202119.67%
Nov 201619.39%
Jul 202119.39%
Oct 201619.38%
Aug 202119.38%
Oct 202019.35%
Jul 201619.17%

What we see is that of these 10 months, 6 of them have been in the last 10 months, all during the UCP administration. The other 4 all occurred while the NDP were in power.

And here are the next 10 highest months.

May 201619.11%
Jan 202119.10%
Feb 202119.09%
Dec 201919.03%
Jun 201619.02%
Feb 201718.92%
Aug 202018.91%
Sep 202018.91%
Nov 202118.90%
Jun 201718.88%

Once again, 6 under the UCP and 4 under the NDP.

If this trend continues, part-time jobs could make up 21.2% of all jobs by 2031.

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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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