indicatorThe Owl

Goods-producing sector employment fell in October

The change in total employment masks some large differences across industries

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 8 November 2021 1 min read

Friday’s Owl reported that the number of seasonally adjusted jobs in Alberta fell by 0.4%, or about 9,000 positions, in October.

As usual, the change in total employment masks some large differences across industries.

For example, the number of jobs in the wholesale and retail sector jumped by over 10,000 for a month-over-month increase of 2.9% while accommodation and food services sector employment fell by 10,000 (-7.7%).

With the gains and losses offsetting one another, employment was almost unchanged in the services-producing sector whereas jobs were down in all five of the main goods-producing industries for a combined loss of 9,300 (-1.7%).

Employment was down by over 4,000 (-2.9%) in the natural resources* sector and by 2,300 (-6.5%) in the primary agriculture sector (-6.5%).

Because of the prodigious role played by natural resources in the Alberta economy, it’s worth noting that employment in the sector (about 95% of which are oil and gas jobs) has surpassed its pre-pandemic level by 9,400 (+7.2%).

Unfortunately, if we go back farther in time, we find that natural resource sector jobs are 22.4%, or 40,500 positions, below the peak set in May 2012 and 5.6% (8,300) below the more recent 2018 average.

In other words, at 140,700 jobs in October 2021, the natural resource sector is still a major employer in Alberta (especially given the high-paying nature of many of these jobs), but the size of its workforce has contracted over the last 10 years.

*Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

Answer to the previous trivia question: The legally-defined standard work week in France is 35 hours.

Today’s trivia question: What TV channel launched on this day in 1972?

With the gains and losses offsetting one another, employment was almost unchanged in the services-producing sector

With the gains and losses offsetting one another, employment was almost unchanged in the services-producing sector


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