January 8, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—December 2023 Labour Force Survey

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about the December 2023 Labour Force Survey.

As expected, December proved to be yet another month of a cooling labour market, nationally and provincially.

In Canada: Jobs growth flatlined, with jobs gains of essentially zero, and unemployment unchanged.

In Alberta: Jobs growth failed to keep pace with population growth, with jobs gains of just 6.7k and unemployment rising from 5.9% to 6.3%.

Generally, Alberta’s labour market closed out the year in a moderately weaker position from where it started. Not only did it see a modest uptick in unemployment, but it also saw a decline in the percentage of people active in the labour market.

Over the year, young adults saw the biggest decline in employment. Meanwhile, among those of working age and 55+, men remained engaged in the labour force while women either lost work or left the labour market.

Resources industries saw the biggest net and percentage increase in jobs in 2023. Meanwhile, professional services (for a long time, a source of strength) shed over 13k jobs.

But where is the labour market headed in 2024? Turning to broader measures of unemployment, most remain in line with their rates at the top of 2023. However, the recent uptick suggests the economy, and labour market, is slowing.

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