In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about October Labour Force Survey numbers.
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October was a good month for the Canadian job market, adding 108k new positions—the most since Feb, when Omicron-related restrictions were lifted in Ontario and Quebec. In a rare occurrence, all 10 provinces saw employment grow last month, including Alberta which added nearly 7k new jobs
Despite strong employment growth, Canada’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2% in October as more people were looking for work. In Alberta, the jobless rate fell from 5.5% to 5.2% partly because of job gains and partly because some Albertans left the labour market.
Job gains in Alberta were led by trade-related industries, which added 3.9k jobs in October. Employment in construction, hospitality and professional services were all higher. Tempering those gains were losses in finance, transportation and resource industries.
Labour shortages and inflation are problems across Canada, but Alberta is one of the few places where that’s not translating into significant wage growth. Average hourly wages in Alberta in October were just 1.9% higher than a year ago, compared to 5.6% Canada-wide.
In a welcome reversal from September, Alberta posted strong growth in full-time jobs, adding 14k new positions. Meanwhile, there were about 7k fewer part-time positions filled.
One emerging concern in Alberta is declining job prospects for young women. Since July, there have been ~15k jobs lost for women under 25, largely in full-time positions. The share of young women looking for work in October was the lowest since the worst of pandemic shutdowns.
After rising in September, Alberta’s long-term unemployment rate fell back again in October. Just under 10% of unemployed Albertans have been without a job for a year or longer.