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Alberta lost over 40,000 full-time jobs last month

Part-time jobs were up, however, which brings the net job losses to just under 11,000. This is the first month of job losses since May.

The federal government released their November 2020 job numbers yesterday, and for the first time in 7 months, job numbers are down in Alberta.

The net decrease to jobs was 10,800. Alberta has seen job increases in every month since this past May. Well, until now. During that time, it had seen 258,100 jobs “created”. This loss brings the total jobs increase since the economy reopened down to 247,300

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 113,600 lost jobs that haven’t recovered. A little less than 1 in 3 of the jobs lost during the pandemic shutdown—31% actually—remains unfilled.

And even with these increases, Alberta’s employment rate is still 4.9 points lower than what it was prior to the pandemic (last month, it was 4.4 points). Every other province in the country is closer to their pre-pandemic employment rate than Alberta is.

Among workers 25 years of age and older, women workers made up most of the job increases. There were 5,800 more women over 25 out of work last month compared to October. On the other hand, 3,000 more men over 25 were unemployed in November over the previous month, a decrease of 1.7%.

Only 7 sectors saw some job gains in Alberta for October (with finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing seeing the highest gains: 6,600). The remaining 9 sectors reported by Statistics Canada saw job losses in Alberta:

  • Business, building and other support services (-11,800)
  • Manufacturing (-5,000)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (-3,600)
  • Health care and social assistance (-3,300)
  • Educational services (-2,800)
  • Information, culture and recreation (-1,700)
  • Utilities (-1,100)
  • Transportation and warehousing (-500)
  • Other services (-100)

Combined, these 9 industries lost 29,900 jobs.

Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app, Statistics Canada

Compared to a year ago, the industry with the highest job losses has been accommodation and food services, while finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing saw the largest increase over the last year.

SectorNov 2019–
Nov 2020
% change
Accommodation and food services-40,600-26.5
Business, building and other support services-18,100-23.2
Professional, scientific and technical services-14,000-7.3
Manufacturing-13,000-9.7
Construction-11,200-4.8
Educational services-11,100-6.9
Agriculture-10,600-21.2
Public administration-6,000-5.5
Other services (except public administration)-5,600-5.2
Transportation and warehousing-3,700-2.7
Utilities-1,500-6.2
Wholesale and retail trade-1,500-0.5
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas-1,200-0.9
Information, culture and recreation-300-0.4
Health care and social assistance3,7001.2
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing11,90011.2

Surprisingly, compared to a year ago, only 2 sectors in Alberta saw employment increases.

The report shows that Alberta’s private sector grew by 9,700 between October and November, but there were still 110,400 fewer private sector jobs than this time last year. Public sector jobs were down by 7,800 over October but lower than November 2019 by 4,100. Self employed jobs were down by 12,800 over October and 8,000 lower than they were in November 2019.

Full-time jobs made up all of the job losses. Alberta lost 40,200 jobs between October and November, but gained 20,200 part-time jobs.

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).

Full-time numbers worsened dramatically during the pandemic, with Jun, July, August, September, and October being the only months when we saw an increase in full-time jobs (72,000, 30,000, 8,200, 34,500, and 12,800 respectively). Alberta lost 252,800 full-time jobs during the pandemic. The increases over the last four months brought the full-time job deficit to 95,300. This month’s loss increases that full-time deficit, however, to 135,500.

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 188,100.

That’s 11,064 full-time jobs lost every month since last July, on average.

Alberta’s unemployment rate was 11.1%, down 0.4 points since October and significantly higher than the 7.2% it was prior to the pandemic. The participation rate dropped slightly to 69.5% since October, which means fewer people are actually looking for work. Plus, after Newfoundland and Labrador, our unemployment rate is the highest in the country.

Canada saw an increase in employment, with national jobs going up by 62,000. Combined with other increases during the latter part of the pandemic, employment is still 529,800 below pre-pandemic levels in the country. Jobs were up in most of the provinces (except Manitoba and Alberta), but Ontario and BC led the way (36,600 and 23,900, respectively).

The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.5%, down from October’s 8.9%, September’s 9.0%, August’s 10.2%, July’s 10.9%, June’s 12.3%, and May’s record 13.7%. It’s still higher than the pre-pandemic 5.6% the country saw in February.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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