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A profile of natural resource jobs in Alberta

Alberta is home to the largest number of natural resource jobs in the country

By ATB Economics 3 May 2021 1 min read

A new report from Statistics Canada shows that Canada’s natural resource* sector—mining, energy, forestry, fishing and hunting—employed 652,581 people, representing 3.4 per cent of all jobs in the country.

At 27.6 per cent of the total (180,345), Alberta is home to the largest number of natural resource jobs in the country. Ontario is second at 23.8 per cent (155,102).

A key difference between Alberta and Ontario is that 86.1 per cent of the natural resource jobs in Alberta are in the energy sector compared to 36.0 per cent in Ontario.

Between 2009 (when the data series begins) and 2019, the number of natural resource jobs in Alberta peaked at 198,479 in 2013. By the end of the recession of 2015-16, the number of jobs was 22.1 per cent (43,863) below the high set in 2013 with the losses concentrated among oil and gas workers.

Employment in the sector increased after the recession, but was still 9.1 per cent (18,134) below the peak as of 2019.

Natural resource jobs tend to pay well with the average hourly wage of employees ranging from $38.92 for forestry workers to $58.70 for energy workers.

Over two-thirds (67.9 per cent) of Alberta’s natural resource sector employees have a trade certificate, college diploma or university degree; 30.1 per cent are women; and 6.0 per cent identify as Indigenous.

*Statistics Canada defines natural resource activities as “those which result in goods and services originating from naturally-occurring assets used in economic activity. These assets comprise mineral and energy resources, water, as well as natural timber, aquatic, and other natural biological resources, and may be renewable or non-renewable. As per international standards, they do not include intensively cultivated biological resources such as agricultural crops.”

Answer to the previous trivia question: One fifth of payroll employees in Alberta work for goods producing industries.

Today’s trivia question: Which province is home to the largest number of forestry workers?

Between 2009 (when the data series begins) and 2019, the number of natural resource jobs in Alberta peaked at 198,479 in 2013

Between 2009 (when the data series begins) and 2019, the number of natural resource jobs in Alberta peaked at 198,479 in 2013


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