A moving target
Change in employment in Alberta by industry
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 11 January 2022 1 min read
Alberta’s labour market in 2021 looked different than it did back in 2014 at the tail end of the last boom.
Average employment in some sectors was lower in 2021 than in 2014 largely because of the pandemic. Accommodation and food service jobs are an example with employment in the sector 21.5% below the level in 2014.
For other sectors, the reduced employment levels in 2021 compared to 2014 were the result of long-term shifts. The oil and gas sector is in this category. Increased efficiency and reduced capital spending pushed employment in the patch down by 18.9% in 2021 compared to 2014.
In some cases, long-term employment erosion has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Manufacturing, construction and primary agriculture jobs are in this camp.
At the other end of the continuum are sectors that have experienced employment growth since the boom ended. Education, health care and social services, real estate, public administration, utilities, retail, and finance are key examples.
As the effects of the pandemic recede (hopefully sooner than later), population aging, technological change and other broad trends will continue to reshape our labour market and tilt it even more toward service sector employment.
Answer to the previous trivia question: The WTI crude oil benchmark peaked in 2014 around $107 (US dollars) or about $126 after adjusting for inflation.
Today’s trivia question: In 2021, the goods-producing sector accounted for about 24% of all employment in Alberta. What was the share in 1976 (when the current data series began)?