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Employment gains and losses by industry in Alberta

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 12 September 2022 1 min read

Friday’s Owl reported that seasonally-adjusted employment in Alberta slipped by 6,500 positions (-0.3%) in August compared to July.

When we break things down by industry, we find that eight sectors posted an increase in August while employment in the other eight decreased.

The only goods-producing sector to see a drop in employment was construction, which was down by 10,600 positions (-4.6%).

Led by a loss of 7,300 jobs in the accommodation and food services sector (-5.2%), the services-producing side of the economy lost 14,000 positions for a monthly decline of 0.8%.

Taking a longer view, only two sectors had fewer employees than a year ago, with total employment in the province up by 113,800 (+5.1%) compared to August 2021. The two exceptions were the transportation and warehousing sector, which was down by 4,900 positions (-3.6%), and the educational services sector, which was down by 17,600 positions (-10.1%).

The current snapshot is not quite as good when we compare it to where things stood just before COVID, with employment still lagging in five sectors (see the chart below) compared to February 2020. With that said, the gaps have been getting smaller.

It’s also important to note that the gaps are the combined effect of not enough interested/qualified workers to fill openings and reduced need for workers on the part of at least some employers. Untangling the two is difficult, but we do know that the former is playing at least some role because employers have been reporting challenges finding enough workers.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Alberta’s economy is larger than British Columbia’s. Total economic output in terms of real GDP in Alberta in 2021 was $323 billion compared to $262 billion in BC.

Today’s trivia question: In what year did Alberta’s real GDP per capita peak?

Employment in some industries remains below its pre-pandemic level

Employment in some industries remains below its pre-pandemic level

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