Insights & Analysis

September 10, 2021

Weekly EconMinute—September 10, 2021

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

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  • It was a good news update for Alberta today based on the August Labour Force Survey. 
  • Alberta saw its second consecutive month of jobs gains. Employment increased 20k (+0.9%) from July to August, driven by an increase in full time jobs (+16k).
  • Meanwhile, the unemployment rate decreased to its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic—from 8.5% to 7.9% (pre-pandemic: 7.5%)—driven by an increase in employment of the working-age population, as the participation rate held steady.
  • However, demographic differences remain. While working-age men (aged 25-54) have mostly recovered, the employment rate of women in this age remains 1.4% below pre-COVID levels, due to higher unemployment and a lower participation rate. That said, August saw a modest improvement for this group, down from the 1.8% gap as of July.
  • The easing of restrictions seems to have played the biggest role in employment gains. Industries which led the way in recovery include Transportation & Warehousing (+9.2%); Information, Culture and Recreation (+9.8%); and Accommodation and Food Services (+4.2%).
  • We still have a way to go to a full recovery. The latter two industries remain furthest from their pre-pandemic levels of employment (both more than 10% below pre-COVID levels), with the most uncertainty in the face of higher COVID cases and renewed restrictions.
  • The most encouraging sign of today’s update: for the first time in a few months, long-term unemployment (those who have been unemployed for a year or longer) finally saw a small decrease.
  • Though long-term unemployment remains elevated in Alberta—2.2% vs 1.2% nationally—it decreased 8% from July to Aug.

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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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