Friday’s Labor Force Survey release showed total employment and the unemployment rate were little changed and that there has been little overall employment growth in Canada since August. Indeed, total employment shrank slightly in Canada with Quebec and British Columbia faring the worst in terms of the total number of jobs lost. Of course, Alberta was on top –again.
Figure 1 shows provincial employment growth by the total number of jobs created for the most recent release. It would appear that six provinces saw increases and four decreases but the increase in Alberta stands out. Needless to say, the decrease in Quebec should make for an interesting contribution to the election campaign underway. Ontario also saw an increase but Alberta with one-third of Ontario’s population created three times as much employment. This performance by Alberta rooted in the performance of its energy sector has been the story of the 21st century.
As Figure 2 shows, in percentage terms, employment growth in Alberta over the period 2000 to 2013 was double that for Canada as a whole and again dwarfs that of the other provinces. In 2000, Alberta accounted for 10.7 percent of Canada’s employment. By 2013 this had grown to 12.4 percent.
Alberta is doing very well and the rest of the country is pretty much poor to mediocre when it comes to job growth. Yet, as well as Alberta is doing one cannot help feeling a certain sense of disquiet given the dependency of Alberta’s performance on really one thing – the price of a barrel of oil.
Just take a look at Figure 3 for a refresher on how the price of oil can vary.