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Alberta’s labour market since the recession, part 1

Alberta’s labour market since the recession, part 1

Posted on: 6/10/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

With the recession of 2015/16 more than two years behind us, today's Owl looks at how Alberta’s labour market is doing today compared to before the downturn.

The average number of positions was up by 2.5 per cent in 2018 compared to 2014. Unfortunately, job creation did not keep pace with demand, as Alberta’s labour force grew by 4.7 per cent over the same period.

As a result, although the unemployment rate is lower than it was during the recession, it remains higher than it was before the downturn, averaging 6.7 per cent in 2018 compared to just 4.7 per cent in 2014. That two percentage point difference in pre- and post-recession unemployment represents an average of 53,300 more unemployed Albertans in 2018 than in 2014—a rise of 47.3 per cent.

It’s also important to look at the quality of jobs that have been created. Full-time jobs managed to creep up by 1.0 per cent between 2014 and 2018 while the growth in part-time positions was 10.4 per cent. All things considered, we want to see the creation of more full-time positions than part-time, so these numbers point to a weakening of the job market.

While the number of jobs in Alberta has surpassed the pre-recession level, job growth has lagged the growth in demand and has been tilted toward part-time as opposed to full-time jobs.

Tomorrow’s Owl will compare how the different sectors of the labour market have performed since the recession, including public versus private sector positions.

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Unemployed, graph​​

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