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Indigenous employment up, but challenges remain

Indigenous employment up, but challenges remain

Posted on: 6/21/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


To mark National Indigenous Peoples Day, The Owl is taking a look at labour market trends among Alberta’s Indigenous population. As of 2017, there were 168,000 Indigenous people of working age (15 years and over) in our province, representing about five per cent of Alberta’s total working age population.

Employment growth among Indigenous Albertans grew by 36 per cent between 2007 and 2017, outpacing the 14 per cent growth in employment seen among the non-Indigenous population during the same time frame. There were 26,800 more jobs held by Indigenous Albertans in 2017 than in 2007.

Unfortunately, Indigenous employment growth has not kept pace with growth in the Indigenous labour force, which grew by 42 per cent between 2007 and 2017. As a result, the Indigenous unemployment rate remains high at 12 per cent as of last year. The non-Indigenous unemployment rate is also high (7.7 per cent in 2017) compared to where it was before the recession, but is consistently lower than the Indigenous rate.

The participation rate, or the proportion of working age Indigenous Albertans who are working or looking for work, was the second highest in the country last year at 68.7 per cent. This is still somewhat below the non-Indigenous participation rate (73.5 per cent).

The jump in the number of jobs held by Indigenous Albertans is a positive sign, but stubbornly high unemployment points to the need to continue efforts on a variety of fronts to bring the Indigenous unemployment rate down.

Labour force trends, graph​​​​​

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