indicatorThe Owl

Employee positions and wages weakened in December

The number of employee positions in Alberta fell by 0.1 per cent in December but was up by 0.8 per cent compared to a year earlier.

By ATB Economics 27 February 2020 1 min read

The number of jobs—excluding self-employment—in Alberta declined slightly in December as did average weekly wages.

According to the latest results from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, the number of employee positions in Alberta fell by 0.1 per cent in December but was up by 0.8 per cent compared to a year earlier. The year-over-year increase works out to about 16,000 additional jobs. (The data have been adjusted to account for seasonal variation.)

While much better than if the net number of jobs declined, this is a rather slow pace of employment growth. In addition, the number of employee positions contracted in each of the last four months of the year. This points to weak labour market momentum going into 2020.

Key subsectors that saw year-over-year improvement in the number of employee positions include health care and social assistance (+7.2 per cent), transportation and warehousing (+5.3 per cent) and professional, scientific and technical services (+1.4 per cent).

Conversely, construction (-2.8 per cent), oil and gas extraction (-2.5 per cent) and manufacturing (-2.4 per cent) all saw the number of positions fall between December 2018 and December 2019.

The overall picture is similar when it comes to earnings. Average weekly earnings including overtime softened at the end of 2019, falling by 1.9 per cent in November and again by another 0.3 per cent in December. The year-over-year numbers were better, with average wages 2.1 per cent higher than the previous December, just a shade above the rate of inflation.

Employee positions in Alberta

The number of employee positions in Alberta fell by 0.1 per cent in December.


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