Insights

May 13, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—April 2024 Labour Force Survey

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about the April 2024 Labour Force Survey.

The Alberta labour market continued to churn out jobs in April, adding about 11k positions (+0.4%)—more than offsetting the small decline seen in March (-3k) and beating the average monthly jobs gains we’ve seen over the last year. Meanwhile, the national labour market added 90k jobs (+0.4%) following a weak month in March (-2.2k).

However, the pace of jobs growth in Alberta lagged behind growth in the number of people looking for work. As a result, unemployment ticked up to 7% in Alberta from 6.3% in March—the highest level we’ve seen since Fall of 2021 and in line with the 2019 average. Meanwhile, nationally, the unemployment rate held steady at 6.1%.

Most industries saw minimal jobs gains or losses over the last month. However, one stand-out has been resource industries which led jobs creation in the province both over the past month and the past year—up 6k versus March, and 20k versus last year. 

Wage growth in Alberta—which had been minimal for years—has been stronger over the last year or so and is now in the middle of the pack across provinces. Wages have grown around 4% on average over the last year, narrowly outpacing inflation.

Nonetheless, wage growth is a “lagging” indicator and tends to reflect past economic strength. Other measures—namely, a broad range of unemployment indicators—point to a softening Alberta labour market, one that is returning to pre-Covid norms.

Have an indicator you want us to look into? Email us at media@businesscouncilab.com.

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