Monthly Labour Market Notes

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

Latest Labour Market Notes

Download the complete report: Labour Market Notes (May 2018) (PDF, 1.3 MB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Solid job gains in March

Employment moves higher

Following a modest gain in February, Alberta added 8,300 jobs in March. The gains over the last two months more than offset January’s decline and employment is up nearly 5,000 in 2018.

Gains in part-time

All the monthly job gains were in part-time (+8,300) positions, while full-time employment was unchanged. While full-time employment has moved lower since January, it still accounts for all the employment gains since the June 2016 low (+84,300).

Unemployment rate continues its rapid descent

With employment gains and virtually no change in the labour force, the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 6.3%, the lowest level since August 2015. Over the last year, the unemployment rate has declined 2.0 percentage points, the largest annual decline in more than 23 years.

Solid year-over-year job growth

Employment increased at a healthy rate, growing by 40,500, or 1.8%, year-over-year. This was slightly higher than the Canadian rate of 1.6%.

Self-employment takes the lead

Self-employment increased for the fourth month in a row (+11,300) to reach a new high, while gains in the public sector (+3,200) were more than offset by losses in the private sector (-6,100). With the recent strength, the growth in self-employment has accounted for slightly more than half of the job growth over the last year.

Strength in the goods sector

Employment in the goods sector (+9,300) expanded in March, while the service sector (-1,000) pulled back. Over the last year, the employment gains have been concentrated in the goods sector (+32,600) led by the manufacturing (+15,000) and natural resources (+14,200).

Earnings: little changed

Average weekly earnings (AWE) edged 0.1% lower in January to $1,147. Compared to a year ago, earnings were up 3.1%.

Chart 1: Employment growth by province
Year-over-year % change - April 2018 vs. April 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 (April 2018) (PDF, 1.3 MB)

See below for highlights from the publication.

Job market improving for job seekers

Since November 2016, the number of unemployed people in Alberta has fallen by over 67,000

Over the same period, the size of the labour force has been relatively flat, suggesting more people are finding work and fewer workers are becoming unemployed. This can be measured by the job-finding and separation rates (Shimer, R. 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment." Review of Economic Dynamics 15 (2): 127–48). The job-finding rate is the share of unemployed who find work each month, while the separation rate is the share of workers who become unemployed.

Job-finding rate increasing

More unemployed Albertans are finding employment, demonstrated by the job finding rate, which has increased since the fall of 2016. It averaged 33% in the three months ending in February, 3.9 percentage points higher than a year ago, as nearly one in three unemployed people found work. While the job finding rate is tracking closer to the Canadian level, it remains well below the 2010-2014 average for Alberta (see chart).

Chart 2: Job-finding rate improving
Seasonally adjusted job-finding rate, 3-month moving average

Job-finding rate improving - Seasonally adjusted job-finding rate, 3-month moving average. Source: Statistics Canada, Treasury Board and Finance calculations
Source: Statistics Canada, Treasury Board and Finance calculations



Issues prior to 2018

Labour Market Notes Archive (August 2012 to current)

Sign up for updates

Subscribe to get our economic publications by email


Robert Van Blyderveen, Economist
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Phone: 780-638-5628
Toll-free in Alberta: 310-0000 before the phone number