August 8, 2023

Weekly EconMinute—July 2023 Labour Force Survey

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

The Canadian labour market held steady in July, with overall employment effectively unchanged from June (-6,400 jobs). With employment flat, the unemployment rate edged up from 5.4% to 5.5%.

Meanwhile, Alberta continues to churn out new jobs, adding 11.8k positions in July (+0.5%), more than anywhere else in Canada. Even so, the unemployment rate jumped from 5.7% in June to 6.1%, because of a spike in the number of people looking for work.

Alberta’s employment gains in July were the result of full-time positions replacing part-time jobs. Alberta gained an impressive 31.5k full-time jobs last month, while 19.7k part-time positions were lost.

Alberta’s hospitality businesses made huge summertime gains, adding nearly 11k jobs in July. Finance-related jobs also surged (+8.2k). Meanwhile, professional services, one of Alberta’s most important industries, continued its unusual decline. Alberta has lost nearly 20k professional service jobs since April.

While job growth is strong in Alberta, it’s only just keeping pace with population growth. The percentage of Albertans with a job (the employment rate) has been flat for more than 18 months, although it remains higher than the national average.

Good news: wages in Alberta are (finally) taking off. Year-over-year wage growth jumped to 6.1% in July, passing the Canadian average for the first time in years. Wage gains were highest in transportation and agriculture.

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