Albertans left behind in employment gains, pessimistic about future

By Catherine Griwkowsky September 9, 2020

Alberta is being left behind as most of the rest of the country sees employment gains.
The province’s unemployment rate was down one percentage point to 11.8 per cent in August, according to StatsCan’s latest labour force survey, but the drop was attributed to lower workforce participation more so than new job gains. 
Countrywide, employment increased 1.4 percentage points month-over-month, with every jurisdiction other than Alberta and New Brunswick on the upswing. 
The province regained 9,700 jobs in August and has recovered 55 per cent of the 360,900 jobs lost during the pandemic. However, the trend upward appears to have stalled, driven by 7,000 fewer people employed in the oil and gas sector. 
Compared to August 2019, about 177,000 fewer Albertans had jobs last month (90 per cent of those lost were full-time). Over the same period, the labour force shrunk by about 69,000, suggesting many individuals are opting out of the market. 
Meanwhile, an Angus Reid Institute survey conducted in August found Albertans are the most pessimistic about the economy. Fifty-one per cent of respondents said they are worse off financially now than compared to a year ago and 30 per cent of said they expect to be worse off a year from now.
Alberta was the only province where the majority of respondents said they were worse off than 12 months ago.