Part-time jobs rising under UCP

Full-time jobs over the last 3 years haven’t kept up with population growth. Part-time jobs, however, have increased twice as fast.

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada released their June 2022 employment numbers.

As I was going through the numbers, I noticed that there were 1,934,400 people working full-time last month. That’s about 2,000 lower than the previous month, but still the second highest level Alberta has seen since the UCP took office.

That being said, Alberta’s population overall is higher than it was when the UCP took office.

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Of course, that made me curious to see how those full-time jobs look when compared to overall job number.

So, let’s take a look.

Last month, there were 2,367,700 people in total working in Alberta. That means that full-time workers made up 81.70% of total workers in the province.

Compare that to May, which sat at 82.04%, and April which was 80.4%.

Here’s what each June over the last 10 years has looked like.

TotalFull-time% FT
June 20122,153,8001,789,80083.10%
June 20132,194,7001,840,80083.87%
June 20142,242,7001,881,00083.87%
June 20152,249,7001,877,10083.44%
June 20162,178,5001,764,10080.98%
June 20172,227,1001,806,60081.12%
June 20182,256,1001,846,80081.86%
June 20192,288,7001,886,70082.44%
June 20202,049,2001,686,70082.31%
June 20212,220,3001,779,10080.13%
June 20222,367,7001,934,40081.70%

Last month, full-time jobs made up a larger percentage of total jobs than they were the previous June. However, it was still lower than the two other Junes under the UCP administration. It’s also the fourth lowest level of any June over the last decade.

And that’s despite the creation of a so-called Job Creation Tax Cut. In fact, since June 2019—the last month before the UCP cut the tax rate on corporate profits over half a million dollar—the percentage of

Another I noticed is that under the UCP, the numbers seemed to trend down. Sure, the first June under their administration (2019) was higher than the previous year, but the following two years saw consecutive decreases.

Compare that to the NDP, which saw decreases in their first two years and increases during their last two years.

What will be interesting is to see what next June looks like, whether the increase we saw last month is part of a trend or just an anomaly.

Now, there might be a few of you out there thinking, “Of course the numbers haven’t gone up! We were in a recession caused by pandemic shutdowns!”

Well, I’m glad you brought that up. There are a couple of things I want to show you related to that.

First, check out this graph, which shows the percentage of total jobs that were full-time between June 2019—before the tax cut—and February 2020. That was the last month before the provincial government brought in public health protections related to the pandemic.

What we see is that even before the pandemic hit Alberta, the percentage of full-time jobs in the province never increased above what they were prior to the Job Creation Tax Cut.

In fact, during the entire time the UCP have been in office since June 2019, the percentage of full-time jobs has passed the pre-tax cut level only twice.

In March 2020, the first month of the pandemic, full-time jobs made up 83.51% of all jobs. The following month, that proportion had jumped to 84.81%.

However, by the pandemic’s third month, it had dropped to 82.39%, below June 2019 levels, and it has never been that high since. As well, in November 2020, full-time jobs even dropped below the 80% mark.

But it wasn’t because of UCP policy that full-time jobs made up such a large share of total jobs during the first two months of the pandemic. It’s because companies laid off their part-time workers.

Here, look for yourself.

PT jobsFT jobs
Feb 2020423,3001,850,000
Mar 2020355,5001,801,000
Apr 2020293,4001,637,500

Alberta went from 423,300 part-time jobs in February 2020 to 293,400 two months later, a loss of 129,900. Full-time workers dropped by 212,500 during the same period.

“Woah! Wait a minute,” you might be demanding, “Alberta lost way more full-time workers. You even said it yourself right there.”

Yes, that’s technically true, if you look at the absolute numbers: 212,500 is most definitely larger than 129,900.

But we also started with more full-time workers. Way more.

In February 2020, Alberta had 4.37 times more full-time workers than part-time workers. But two month later, the number of full-time workers that lost their jobs wasn’t 4.37 times larger than that of the part-time workers. It was only 1.64 times larger.

That means a larger share of part-time workers lost their job compared to full-time workers. Indeed, 30.7% of part-time workers lost their jobs during those first two months of the pandemic, yet only 11.5% of full-time workers lost theirs.

It was part-time workers who were bearing the brunt of the so-called shutdowns during those first two months, not full-time workers.

But even that was short lived, after corporations successfully lobbied governments to let them open up, to fund their efforts for PPEs and plastic shields, and to subsidize the money they had to pay workers. Once that happened, corporations were more than happy to bring back their part-time workers.

Let’s look at the numbers another way: right before the tax cut and 3 years later.

PT jobsFT jobs
June 2019402,0001,886,700
June 2022433,3001,934,400

Over the last 3 years, Alberta has seen an increase of 31,300 part-time workers, compared to 47,700 full-time workers during the same period.

And while 47,700 is certainly bigger than 31,300, keep in mind that the number of part-time workers increased by 7.79% since June 2019, while full-time workers increased by just 2.53%.

Interestingly enough, the overall population of Alberta increased by 3.6% during the same period.

Part-time jobs increased at more than double the rate of the general population and full-time jobs didn’t even increase enough to accommodate all the new people living in Alberta since June 2019.

Oh, and one final thing. Remember when I said that June 2022 was higher than June 2021? Check out this chart.

Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t look like much of a trend. I think we might be waiting for a bit longer for that so-called Job Creation Tax Cut to kick in.

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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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