Insights & Analysis

October 8, 2021

Weekly EconMinute—October 8, 2021

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

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September was another solid month for employment with an increase of 19.6k new jobs, led by new full-time positions.

  • Employment growth accelerated after a tepid summer. Canada added 157k jobs, finally bringing total jobs, but not employment rate, back to pre-pandemic levels. A similar story in Alberta: 19.6k jobs were added in September, but the percentage of the population with a job sits still slightly below February 2020 levels.
  • Job gains in Alberta were led by wholesale and retail trade (15.1k), and a bump in pre-election hiring in the public service. On the downside, hospitality businesses are still struggling, and there were notable losses in construction and agriculture as well.
  • Another bit of good news is that job growth in Alberta was entirely in full-time positions. The province added 25.8k full-time jobs in September, while part-time employment was down 6.1k.
  • As kids went back to school, many in Alberta started looking for work. The participation rate rose to its highest level in a year, led by working-age women returning to the labour pool. As a result, the unemployment rate in Alberta rose to 8.1% despite solid job gains.
  • September also saw a strong recovery in labour market conditions for women in Alberta. Women dominated jobs gains and the employment rate for women 25-54 is now higher than pre-pandemic levels. The exception is women 55+ for whom job prospects remain weak.
  • Long-term unemployment—people unemployed for 1+ years—remains a concern in Alberta. The long-term jobless rate fell slightly in September, but is still among the highest in Canada. It’s especially an issue for older Albertans & older women in particular.

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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.

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