Labour Market Information

Labour Market Information
August 2019 Labour Market Report
It's the first Friday of the month! That means we get new labour market information!
Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.2% in August 2019, up 0.2% from the previous month and down 0.5% from the same month last year.

In Canada, there were large gains in Ontario and some in Quebec. Most of the other provinces were unchanged in August.
This rate was the fifth highest in Canada, behind Nova Scotia’s 7.9%, New Brunswick’s 8.6%, Prince Edward Island’s 8.9%,and Newfoundland and Labrador’s 13.1%. The national rate was 5.7%.

The unemployment rate increased because the labour force increased by 5,600 while employment increased by 600 people from the previous month. Full-time employment increased by 1,200 while part-time employment decreased by 600 over the same period. Between August 2018 and August 2019, employment increased by 4,100. The number of unemployed Albertans increased by 14,600 over the same period.
Year-over-year, employment gains have been led by private sector employment at 36,500. Employment in the public sector increased by 11,100 while self-employment decreased by 43,500 over the same period.
The industries that had the most employment increases in August 2019 from the previous month were:
  • Information, Culture and Recreation, 4,700
  • Accommodation and Food Services, 3,700
  • Public Administration, 2,400
The industries with the most employment decreases were:
  • Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Oil and Gas, 6,000
  • Other Services, 3,100
  • Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing, 1,500
Unemployment is up in Alberta to 7.2%. In the past year and a half, the unemployment trend has increased half a point.

Digging deeper, there remains a significant difference between male and female labour markets. Here's a comparison by age/gender category. In August, male unemployment is near the worst point in recession; females, meanwhile, have unemployment rates almost uniformly at pre-recession rates.

Another way to see it is here (one of the starkest illustrations of the age/gender differences). Still no recovery for young men; but now older men (55+) have seen systematic deterioration. Employment rate fallen by over 4 points since Oct 2014 (same as worst point in recession).
Alberta population has also been growing, meaning the 'gap' in employment between where we are and where we 'need' to be to keep up has been growing. Now up to 52k in August.

Unemployment = not working *and* looking. If fewer people 'look' (or, 'participate') then unemployment falls. If we hold 'fixed' the participation rate, here's unemployment rate in Alberta. Has worsened since early 2018 much more than headline rate suggests.
The City of Edmonton:
Unemployment rate: 7.4% (down from previous month 7.5% and up from a year ago 6.4%).
The City of Calgary:
Unemployment rate: 7.3% (up from previous month 6.9% and down from a year ago 8.1%).
Keep in mind, the following data will look a little different from the above data. This will go over the Calgary Economic Region (CER), meaning it includes ALL of the areas around Calgary (including Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere, Strathmore - Rocky View County, Wheatland County, etc.). Based on that, the unemployment rate for the CER will be LOWER than the unemployment rate of the City of Calgary.

The summer job market improved this year, compared to last year, for the youth in Calgary. Between May and August 2019, there were an estimated 193,900 youth aged 15-24 living in the Calgary Economic Region (CER). Of those youth, 67% or 130,000 participated in the labour market. Thanks to the recent spate of job creation, the youth unemployment rate in the CER dropped to 11.8% this summer, from last summer’s 14.2%. However, the youth unemployment rate was still higher than the 6.8% for the average working-age Calgarian.
Despite the improvement from last year, the unemployment rate was higher for Alberta youth than the national average. Low unemployment rates encourage labour market participation, but high unemployment rates discourage it. Across Canada this summer, Alberta’s job market proved to be most challenging for full-time students (including returning students and other students). The unemployment rate for returning students was the highest in Alberta (18.4%). The participation rates in Alberta for those youth groups were among the lowest in the country.
Nevertheless, Alberta outperformed the Canadian average for the non-student youth group. The non-student youth unemployment rate (7.3 per cent) was the lowest in Canada. Their participation rate (87.0 per cent) was also one of the highest in the country.