Statistics Canada recently released fourth quarter data on payroll employment for each of the provinces. The seasonally adjusted data was as of December 2022.
This data is different from the labour force data I reported on for December, in that this specifically reports on workers who are on payroll.
I figured I’d take a look to see how the job situation looks in Alberta.
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Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the fourth largest number of payroll employees in Canada. After all, they do have the fourth largest population in general.
In December 2022, there were 2,083,521 payroll employees working in Alberta. The month before, that number was 2,070,826. That’s a 12,695 increase, the third largest increase in the country.
|Nov 2022||Dec 2022||Change||% change|
When we look at the increase as a percentage of November’s job numbers, we see that Alberta actually was tied with Manitoba for the second largest increase, surpassed by only Nova Scotia.
Alberta had the fourth largest increase when we compare to December 2021, a year earlier and a more than a year and a half after the province first introduced public health protections related to the pandemic.
|Dec 2021||Dec 2022||Change||% change|
As I said at the outset, this shouldn’t be that surprising, given that we have the fourth largest population in general. Alberta is in first place, however, in terms of percentage change over the last year.
Here is what things look like going back to December 2020, two years prior and about 8 months into the pandemic.
|Dec 2020||Dec 2022||Change||% change|
Alberta, once again, had the fourth largest increase in payroll employment, but dropped to second highest when we look at percentage-based increase, behind only British Columbia.
However, things start to look less rosy the further we go back.
For example, check out what the numbers look like when compared to December 2019, 5 months after the UCP government introduced what they dubbed the “Job Creation Tax Cut”.
|Dec 2019||Dec 2022||Change||% change|
Alberta’s growth in payroll employees since December 2019 was the fourth best of all the provinces in Canada, in total numbers. However, that growth was drastically lower than the 3 larger provinces. For example, British Columbia, which was only one spot above Alberta, saw an increase in payroll employment that was nearly 3 times as large as Alberta’s, despite having a population that is only 14% larger.
On a percentage basis, Alberta actually saw the second worst growth of all provinces, coming in at less than three percent.
Ontario and Québec each saw an increase in over 200,000 payroll employees during the same period. BC was the only other province to pass the 100,000 mark. And New Brunswick grew their number of payroll employees by over 8%.
Finally, let’s compare last year’s numbers to December 2018, the last December during the NDP administration.
|Dec 2018||Dec 2022||Change||% change|
Once again, Alberta saw the fourth largest increase in absolute numbers, but, once again, it trails behind the three other large provinces. Ontario and Québec each passed the 300,000 mark, and BC was just over 200,000, almost 3 times the increase that Alberta saw, despite having only 14% more people living there.
By percentage, Alberta was still in second-to-last place, at just 3.51%.
Keep in mind that Alberta’s population increased by 7.79% during the same period, which means the growth in payroll jobs we did see wasn’t even enough to give jobs to the people who were moving to the province, let alone those who were already here and were still unemployed.
PEI saw the largest increase in percentage growth, at nearly 12%
On that note, PEI’s corporate tax rate is 16%. Despite having a corporate income tax rate that is twice as high as Alberta’s, PEI was able to grow their payroll employees by 3.5 times more than Alberta could.
Maybe how low a tax on corporate profits is actually has no bearing on job growth.