Alberta with highest unemployment in the country at 15.5% in June StatsCan numbers, no change from May.
Ever since COVID-19 restrictions began to lift in the early summer season, Albertans have started to return to employment at a steady, yet disproportionate rate.
When Alberta entered a lockdown state back in February, around 5.5 million workers were impacted by the economic disrupt across Canada.
However, a StatsCan labour force survey conducted in June (which can be viewed here) found that the number of workers continuing to be affected by the virus had dropped by 43 per cent, and is now hovering around 3.1 million.
In Alberta, the number of people returning to work has increased by 4.6 per cent since April, meaning there are currently almost 2.1 million people working.
The survey described the initial employment losses as unprecedented in their speed and depth, with employment numbers falling by 15.7 per cent In just two months, while by comparison the 1981/1982 recession resulted in a total employment decline of 5.4 per cent over approximately 17 months.
The easing of restrictions in May and June have led to the initial recovery of employment to within 9.2 per cent of pre-COVID levels, which has been sharper than in previous downturns, when recovery to pre-downturn employment had taken from two to five years.
But employment again dropped in June by 1.4 points from a record high recovery in May at 13.7 per cent.
The report also found that the job market for returning students was in a much worse state than it was in a year ago, with a 23 per cent decrease in job prospects. It also found that number of employed females was still below that of pre-COVID numbers.
In March and April, a disproportionate share of job loss was felt by youth, women and low-paid workers, and it’s predicted that there will be a longer path to labour market recovery for these groups than others.
The labour market shock resulting from shutdowns has had an unequal impact on different groups of Albertans.
At the same time, workers in a number of industries have continued to work during the shutdown and initial recovery, despite their jobs involving close contact with others, and the associated risk of exposure to the virus.
Recent data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, for example, showed that overtime earnings of hospital workers increased by almost 31.2 per cent in April.
In July, the Labour Force Survey will begin asking respondents to report the ethno-cultural groups to which they belong. This will help to equip policymakers with the information needed to address social and economic inequalities, including the impact of COVID-19 across diverse populations.
Results based on this new question will be included in the release of July LFS results on August 7.