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Self-employment on the rise in Alberta

Self-employment on the rise in Alberta

Posted on: 9/13/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


Self-employed Albertans are an important subset of the Alberta’s labour force, representing about 17 per cent of all workers in province. And, according to Statistics Canada, that number has been growing over the last year.

We have to be careful not to read too much into the month-to-month fluctuations in self-employment numbers—there is a large margin of statistical error. We can, however, be relatively confident in longer-term trends.

The average number of Albertans who say their main job takes the form of self-employment is, thus far, about six per cent higher in 2018 than it was in 2017. The average number of employees in the first eight months of the year went up by less than one per cent compared to last year.

Ideally, this relatively strong growth in self-employment would offer us a wealth of insight into the province’s labour market and the Alberta economy in general. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. While it can be argued as a good sign that more Albertans are confident enough to give self-employment a try, it can also be argued that it suggests a more challenging job market is forcing people to take on more “precarious” work.

Whatever the reason, the uptick in self-employment is arguably a much better sign than an overall decrease in jobs, whether people are working for themselves or someone else.

Self-employment, graph​​​​

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