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Manufacturing jobs coming back but still playing catch-up

Manufacturing jobs coming back but still playing catch-up

Posted on: 12/13/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Alberta’s manufacturing sector was hit hard during the recent recession with annual sales falling by 21.4 per cent between 2014 and 2016. The drop in sales was accompanied by the loss of 33,000 manufacturing jobs (a decline of 22.8 per cent) between November 2014 and November 2016.

Fortunately, manufacturing sales have rebounded somewhat in 2017 and some of the lost jobs have come back. As of November of this year, there were 124,500 Albertans working in the manufacturing sector. This is up 14.2 per cent from the previous November for an increase of 20,600 manufacturing jobs.

The loss of sales and jobs in the manufacturing sector during the recession is explained in large part by its close relationship with Alberta’s oil and gas extraction sector. Many manufacturers in Alberta either process crude oil and natural gas into other products (e.g., gasoline and plastic) or supply the oil and gas extraction sector with products such as pumps and valves. As a result, when oil and natural gas prices fell, a large portion of manufacturing sector felt the pain along with the energy patch.

It’s a good sign that manufacturing sales are up, and the number of jobs in the sector is on the rise, but it will take some time before both are back to the levels set prior to the economic downturn.

Want to learn more about Alberta’s manufacturing sector? Check out the new edition of Perch being released tomorrow.

Monthly employment in manufacturing, graph

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