Alberta’s job growth heavily in part-time employment

Mario ToneguzziAll jobs are not created equal. The number of jobs is up in Alberta following the recession, but they’re not the type of jobs that will necessarily help you meet the mortgage.

In ATB Financial’s daily economic update, The Owl, the Economics & Research Team reported that the total number of Albertans working – including contract workers and those who are self-employed – has fully recovered from the recession of 2015 and 2016.

That’s the good news. The bad news is in the type of work.

“Growth in full-time jobs has been relatively flat, up only 1.7 per cent from March of 2014,” reports The Owl. “That’s well below the growth of full-time jobs nationally (+6.9 per cent).”

Instead, part-time jobs account for the majority of new jobs in Alberta – up 11.5 per cent since March 2014. National growth in part-time jobs was only 4.6 per cent.

“This suggests while there are now more people working than before the recession started, growth has been skewed towards part-time jobs.”

Compared to the peak reached before the recession, it found, the number of workers is up 0.6 per cent as of January 2019.

The Owl noted that while students, semi-retired and seasonal workers may prefer part-time jobs, “Albertans who need full-time work may only be able to find part-time jobs, creating a financial strain.”

In Statistic Canada’s recent Labour Force Survey, it was noted that Alberta’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points in March to 6.9 per cent. The province lost 1,800 jobs from the previous month but year-over-year employment was up by 4,600 positions.

Also this week the 2019 Labour Market Update by the PetroLMI division of Energy Safety Canada indicates about 12,500 jobs are at risk this year due to several factors including low commodity prices, a decline in capital spending and continued uncertainty over market access. And Alberta, as the largest energy-producing province, is expected to have the most jobs at risk at 9,600.

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary. 

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