indicatorThe Owl

Professional, scientific and technical services led job growth over last 12 months

The sector added 50,000 jobs in Alberta between April 2022 and April 2023

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 8 May 2023 1 min read

Friday’s Owl reported that, despite a slight pullback between March and  April, employment in Alberta was up by 76,700 positions compared to 12 months earlier for a year-over-year gain of 3.2%.  This Owl breaks down those changes by industry.

As is almost always the case, the growth is not evenly distributed across the economy with 10 of the major industry categories adding jobs while 6 shed them.

At 3.6% (64,500 jobs), Alberta’s services-producing sector posted stronger year-over-year growth in April than the goods-producing sector at 2.2% (12,200 jobs).

Transportation and warehousing employment grew the most in percentage terms at 26.4% followed closely by professional, scientific and technical services at 24.3%.

These two sectors also added the most jobs in absolute terms with professional, scientific and technical services adding 50,000 jobs between April 2022 and April 2023 and transportation and warehousing adding 31,400.

At the other end of the scale, jobs in the natural resources sector (forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas) were down by 9.6% (-13,900) while the wholesale and retail sector was down the most in absolute terms with 20,600 fewer jobs (-5.5%) than in April 2022.

It is important to remember when interpreting these changes that some of the lost jobs may be due to challenges finding employees rather than employers needing fewer workers. Indeed, job vacancies remain higher than normal. Similarly, employment might be even higher in sectors that have posted growth if not for an inability to find qualified candidates. Finally, given the volatility in the industry numbers, these year-over-year changes can vary significantly from month to month.

While overall employment has surpassed pre-COVID levels, there are a number of industries with employment levels that are still not back to where they were before the pandemic, including accommodation and food, utilities, information, culture and recreation, natural resources, and agriculture.

Answer to the previous trivia question: As of 2022, 24% of employment in Alberta was in the goods-producing sector.   

Today’s trivia question: When was the last time the Edmonton Oilers made it all the way to the final round of the playoffs?

Alberta's services-producing sector added 64,500 jobs between April 2022 and April 2023

Alberta's services-producing sector added 64,500 jobs between April 2022 and April 2023

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