Public, private and self-employment during COVID
If employment growth had not been interrupted by the pandemic, the number of jobs in Alberta today would be higher than in February 2020 by around 39,000
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 12 August 2021 1 min read
Using February 2020 (the month before the pandemic was declared) as our starting point, the number of workers (both employees and the self-employed) in Alberta was still down by 1.6% (35,400) as of July 2021.
If employment growth had not been interrupted by the pandemic, the number of jobs in the province today would be higher than in February 2020 by around 39,000 (assuming a modest monthly increase of just 0.1%). In other words, it’s not just a matter of catching up to February 2020 but adding the jobs that would have been created since then as well.
With this context in mind, let’s take a look at how different groups of workers have fared during the pandemic.
The number of public sector employees* in the province was up by 1.2% or about 5,000 over the reference period. The gains were concentrated in the education services sector while employment decreased in the public administration and health services sectors.
The number of private sector employees was down by 2.5% compared to its pre-pandemic level or about 37,200 positions.
Self-employment (which can include work paid for by both the private and public sectors), was down by 0.9% or about 3,200 people whose main job takes the form of self-employment.
Job growth in the private sector should pick up as the economy continues to recover and as public health restrictions are lifted. It probably goes without saying, but the opposite is true if additional waves of the virus hamstring the recovery and spur the reinstatement of public health restrictions.
*Those who work for a local, provincial or federal government, for a government service or agency, a Crown corporation, or a government funded establishment such as a school (including universities) or hospital.
Answer to the previous trivia question: It would take about 16,000 barrels of oil to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.
Today’s trivia question: As of July 2021, which province had the largest portion of its workforce in the self-employment category and which had the smallest?