Western Canadian Unemployment Numbers Dropping – BC Leaps, Alberta Unbalanced

Post for those operating in Western Canada


April’s unemployment numbers came out today and there has been a flurry of activity as we see some giant gains in employment across most provinces.  British Columbia (BC) made a particularly strong leap forward moving from a 7.0% unemployment rate to 6.4%.  A six point jump is very strong and when looking at the sectors that gained, all most all sectors came out ahead.  The health occupations category was the only one to suffer employment losses of a significant nature, well balanced by gains in all others.  This is a very positive step for BC because of the balance between all sectors.  Alberta could learn from the BC example.

Alberta fell from 5.3% unemployment to 4.9%, matching the rate in January.  However, there has been a significant shift in sector numbers since January’s 4.9% rate.  Unlike BC’s increase in most sectors, almost all employment categories have lost jobs in Alberta.  Only four of ten sectors showed gains, the largest of which was trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations category.  Management jobs dropped by 4,600, natural and applied science jobs by 8,000 and sales and service down 6,000.  These loses are significant in the white collar sector of Alberta’s economy, but hidden when looking at a single unemployment number that reflects huge gains in the trades professions by 17,600 jobs. 

Further to this unbalance, the permanent position category illustrated 7,200 job declines off set by job increases in the temporary job category by 8,000.  Using British Columbia as an example, both temporary and permanent jobs increased, demonstrating balanced growth.  In Alberta the numbers illustrate a significant swing of permanent positions to temporary positions that pay less and are more volatile.

What does this suggest about Alberta?  The areas of professional recruiting are struggling and this may affect the hiring volumes, opportunities and reservations of clients.  Temporary volume should increase and the opportunity to find better temporary personnel should increase given the increase to the labor pool.  As for BC, things should start to heat up and continue to provide a solid base for growing the staffing and recruitment industry.

Dr.Darryl Moore

Executrade – Your Recruitment Specialists

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