In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about April Labour Force Survey numbers.
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Solid gains in April (+16k) have finally pushed Alberta ’s job market past pre-COVID levels. 65.1% of working-age Albertans are employed—the same as in February 2020. Meanwhile, weakness in Quebec meant that Canada overall added only 15k new jobs in April.
Even with flat growth, Canada’s job market remains tight. Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in April—its lowest level since data was first collected in 1976. In Alberta, the unemployment rate fell from 6.5% to 5.9%—a 7-year low.
The share of Albertans who gave up looking for work, are working part-time (but want full-time jobs), or are waiting for call backs is also falling. However, the number of people out of work for more than 1 year is still high (1.4%), twice the national average.
While jobs have recovered for most people, older workers in Alberta are still not coming back. Employment levels for women and, especially, men 55+ remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
Once again Alberta job gains were concentrated in wholesale and retail trade. Since February, that sector has added nearly 30k jobs. Health care jobs also rebounded in May (+4.5k), while there was widespread weakness in goods-producing industries.
An emerging trend during the recovery has been the decline in full-time jobs for young Albertans. While the share of full-time jobs for those aged 25-54 is the same as pre-pandemic, there are noticeably fewer full-time positions for those under 25.