August 21, 2019

Alberta top labour market performer in North America

Employment growth a key factor

CALGARY — A study measuring labour market performance in Canada and the United States indicates Alberta is the North American leader as it topped the rankings with an overall score of 8.9 out of 10.
The Fraser Institute report, Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States 2012 Edition by Amela Karabegovic, Nachum Gabler, and Niels Veldhuis, looked at the years from 2007 to 2011 and based its findings on five equally-weighted indicators: average total employment growth, average private-sector employment growth, average unemployment rates, average duration of unemployment, and average labour productivity.
Three other Canadian provinces are in the top 10: Saskatchewan (second overall, score of 8.3), Manitoba (fifth, score of 7.2), and British Columbia (seventh, score of 6.7).
While Canada’s two largest provinces, Quebec (11th) and Ontario (16th) rank in the top 20, they continue to grapple with sluggish labour markets with overall scores of 5.9 and 5.6, said the report, which was released Thursday.
“The performance of Alberta’s labour market puts it at the top of the list of Canadian provinces and U.S. states over the last five years,” said the Fraser Institute. “The province’s strong performance in total employment growth (ranked first out of 60 jurisdictions), employment growth in the private sector (ranked second), low duration of unemployment (ranked fourth), average unemployment rate (ranked sixth), and labour productivity (ranked sixth) enabled it to achieve the highest overall score of 8.9 out of 10.”
Karabegovic said Alberta is doing better than other Canadian provinces because of government policies in place.
“It has done a better job of attracting jobs and investment to their province,” she said. “Job growth, low unemployment rates, and high labour productivity are affected by government policies such as taxation for example. Policies such as fiscal prudence. How well a province has managed their budgets. Do they incure deficits and so on?”
Karabegovic said the report is good news for Alberta but Saskatchewan and British Columbia are catching up.
“The challenge (for Alberta) is to stay the most attractive province when it comes to job creation and investment,” she added.
According to the Alberta government, from July 2011 to July 2012, employment in the province grew by 2.2 per cent or 45,700 people, the highest growth rate in the country. And during that period, Alberta accounted for 32.8 per cent of Canada’s employment growth.
Alberta’s unemployment rate in July was 4.6 per cent, the lowest among all provinces, while Canada’s was 7.3 per cent.
The Calgary census metropolitan area experienced an unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent in July, which was down from 5.8 per cent a year ago. Edmonton’s unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent was down from 5.3 per cent last year.
Edmonton had the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, among census metropolitan areas, behind only Regina at 4.1 per cent. Calgary was fourth in the country behind Guelph at 4.5 per cent.

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