June 6, 2014 11:33 am
Updated: June 6, 2014 12:39 pm

Alberta is hogging all the good new jobs

Alberta added nearly 17,000 jobs in May, again posting the strongest gains of any province in the country.

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Statistics Canada released Friday its employment data for May and there’s two major observations to take from it, according to experts.

“Lower quality” jobs, namely in part-time work, are firmly on the rise across Canada while growth in full-time work looks increasingly scarce.

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Second, Alberta has become an island of job growth (and Saskatchewan a smaller one), while labour markets in other parts of the country muddle along or continue to post outright declines in job numbers.

Alberta, whose resource sector is booming once again, added 16,400 jobs last month while most other provinces saw job rolls fall.

The province’s labour market is “piping hot” according to BMO chief economist Doug Porter at a time when the rest of the country is posting “anemic” job growth – or 0.1 per cent in the past year, “i.e., a rounding error.”

READ MORE: Migration to Alberta is exploding

“To put the strength of Alberta in context, Canada has seen just 85,500 net new jobs created in the past year, and a whopping 71,200 of them have been in Alberta,” Porter said.

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Alberta accounts for 12.4 per cent of the nation’s labour force but has created more than 83 per cent of all new jobs in Canada over the past 12 months, the BMO economist said.

“Meantime, six of the other nine have seen job declines in the past year, including all five provinces east of Ontario.”

The unemployment rate ticked a tenth of percentage point higher to 7.0 per cent in May, a rate unemployment has hovered around for more than a year.

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Rise of part-time work

Of the jobs that are being created, gains in part-time work are masking declines in full-time positions. The trend continued in May, with 55,000 part-time jobs lifting the overall market place to gain of 28,900 jobs, according to Statscan.

READ MORE: As growth in full-time work stalls, ‘lower quality’ jobs on rise

But 29,100 full-time jobs were actually shed in May – a similar tally to the hit full-time work took in April.

“Full-time employment declined significantly for the second consecutive month,” David Madani, Canadian economist for Capital Economics said. “The economy is struggling to create meaningful employment opportunities.”

With more part-time work entering the economy, wage growth slipped last month, to 1.4 per cent – the fourth month in a row of slowing wage growth. Average wage gains are tracking below inflation of general consumer prices.

“Prepare for a slew of comments about the lack of quality of job gains, and lots of camera footage of people flipping burgers and serving coffee,” BMO’s Porter quipped.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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