Labour Market Notes

In-depth analysis of Alberta’s latest labour market data.

Latest Labour Market Notes

Download the complete report: Labour Market Notes (September 2018)
Published September 7, 2018 (PDF, 524 KB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Alberta's employment surges ahead

Strong employment gains

  • After a pause in July, Alberta’s employment jumped by 16,200 in August.

Gains concentrated in the service sector

  • The monthly gain was concentrated in the service sector (+15,400) while employment in the goods sector (+700) held steady.
  • The gain in the service sector was led by business, building and other support services (+6,300), and professional, scientific and technical services (+4,700) which rebounded following a decline in July.

Majority of job growth in full-time

  • Full-time employment increased (+11,000) after declining in July, while part-time employment increased (+5,300) for the third month in a row.
  • Since the June 2016 low, full-time positions have accounted for 84,800 of the 94,000 job gains.

Rebound in the private sector

  • The monthly gain was driven by a surge in private sector (+31,800) employment, which reversed recent weakness.
  • This was mitigated by a decline in self-employment (-19,500) which retreated from a high.

Unemployment rate holds steady

  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7% as the employment gains were matched by an increase in the labour force.
  • The labour force grew as the participation rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 72.1%, a 7 month high.

Solid year-over-year job growth

  • With the monthly increase, employment was up 53,200, or 2.3%, year-over-year.
  • This was the third highest annual growth among the provinces and higher than the Canadian rate of 0.9%.

Broad-based employment growth

  • Over the last year, employment in both the goods-producing (+18,900) and service (+34,300) sectors have grown, with 12 of the 16 industries expanding.

More balance gains

  • With strong monthly gains in the private sector and a pullback in self-employment, job gains have become more balanced.
  • Employment in both the private (+24,300) and public (+11,100) sector and self-employment (+17,900) have all increased over the last 12 months.

Earnings slip

  • Average weekly earnings (AWE) fell 0.2% in June to $1,143.
  • Compared to a year ago, they were up 0.7%.

Chart 1: Employment growth by province
Year-over-year % change - August 2018 vs. August 2017

Employment growth by province, year-over-year % change. Source: Statistics Canada.
Source: Statistics Canada

Labour InSight

The "Labour InSight" section covers a labour market topic in more detail.

Download the complete report: Labour InSight (September 2018)
Published September 7, 2018 (PDF, 524 KB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Immigrants in the Alberta labour market

Statistics Canada provides data on 2 classifications of the labour population: those born in Canada and landed immigrants, which comprises naturalized citizens or permanent residents of Canada. This labour market InSight highlights some labour trends for immigrants in Alberta.

Strong growth in immigrant population

  • The immigrant working age population (15 years or older) in Alberta has grown significantly over the past decade and has become a larger share of Alberta’s labour market.
  • Immigrants comprise almost 1 in every 4 working-age Albertans in 2018, relative to nearly 1 in 5 in 2008.
  • Alberta’s population growth during the 2015-16 recession was supported by solid levels of immigration, which was bolstered by the Express Entry program and higher Federal immigration targets.

Immigrants tend to be younger

  • Changes to the immigration program have resulted in a greater proportion of economic class immigrants coming to Alberta.
  • Approximately 68% of admissions between 2011 and 2016 were in this category, up from 61% between 2006 and 2011.
  • The targeting of the economic class has attracted younger, skilled immigrants.
  • According to Census 2016, 62% of those admitted between 2011 and 2016 were within the core working age group 25 to 54 years old, relative to 41% for non-immigrants in the same age group (Chart 2).

Chart 2: Immigrants are more heavily weighted in the core working age group
Age structure of non-immigrants and immigrants landed between 2011 and 2016, Alberta

Chart 2: Immigrants are more heavily weighted in the core working age group - Age structure of non-immigrants and immigrants landed between 2011 and 2016, Alberta
Source: Statistics Canada Census 2016

Immigrants highly engaged

  • Immigrant participation in the labour force is increasing. The immigrant participation rate is close to 72% in August 2018, up from around 69% a decade ago.
  • It is trending closer to that of Canadian-born (Chart 3), which has been drifting lower for nearly a decade, mainly due to population aging.
  • Immigrant participation is being boosted by those in the core working age, economic class immigrants, as well as those who landed between 1990 and 2008 that are now more established in the labour market and are contributing to higher participation rates.

Chart 3: Immigrant participation rates are converging
Seasonally adjusted 3-month moving average participation rates by immigrant status in Alberta

Chart 3: Immigrant participation rates are converging - Seasonally adjusted 3-month moving average participation rates by immigrant status in Alberta
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

Resilience during the downturn

  • A larger proportion of immigrants work in sectors that were less affected by the downturn or continued to grow, such as food and accommodations, and healthcare.
  • As a result, employment growth for immigrants remained solid during the downturn.
  • This, along with a growing number of immigrants, led to an increase in the share of immigrant employment.
  • However, the strong growth in the labour force put upward pressure on the unemployment rate of immigrants, which tends to be higher than for those born in Canada.
  • The unemployment rate increased during the recession to 10.7% before falling back to 7.1% in August.

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Contact

Robert Van Blyderveen, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Phone: 780-638-5628
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: Robert.Vanblyderveen@gov.ab.ca