April 10, 2023

Weekly EconMinute—March 2023 Labour Force Survey

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

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In the face of a cooling labour market nationally (an increase of just 34.7k jobs or +0.17% vs February), Alberta saw continued jobs growth (+13.7 jobs or +0.56% vs February) following a weaker month previously.

In fact, Alberta led the way in full-time jobs growth in March, with 10.5k more full-time jobs and 3.3k more part-time jobs.

This led to a modest dip in the unemployment rate from 5.8% to 5.7%, further closing the gap with the national average. Important perspective is that part of Alberta’s higher unemployment rate stems from a higher participation rate (70.0% vs 65.6%) due to a younger population.

From an industry perspective, transportation (+9.3k) drove overall jobs growth for a second consecutive month, followed by finance and related industries. Though overall Alberta saw more jobs created than lost, about half of the province’s industries saw declines.

The biggest story of last month—that wage growth is heating up—has fallen flat this month as the gap with the national average once again widens. However, other measures of wage growth suggest this could reflect a change in the composition of the labour force.

The best news this month is that long-term unemployment (individuals unemployed 1 year or more)—which seemed like it could be a renewed concern—has normalized and is no more of an issue in Alberta than elsewhere across Canada.

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