Employment growth has been about quantity and quality

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Alberta and Saskatchewan have seen employment for both full-time and part-time workers increase at a far greater pace than the national average.
The strong jobs report on Friday of last week helped ease the concern that Canada’s economy is stuck in low gear. The country has now had two consecutive months of healthy job growth. And regionally, both the quantity and the quality of new jobs is improving the most on the Prairies.

Over the last three years, Canada has added 489,000 new full-time jobs and 133,000 part-time jobs. That’s an increase of 3.5 per cent 4.0 per cent respectively, suggesting that while overall employment has increased modestly, the quality of jobs may be deteriorating. There are reasons why many people such as students or the semi-retired may prefer part-time positions. But generally, part-time work is lower paying and may come with fewer employer benefits.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have seen employment for both full-time and part-time workers increase at a far greater pace than the national average. The increase in full-time jobs in Saskatchewan has been the highest in the country, expanding by 9.3 per cent over the last three years. Alberta came in second with an increase of 8.2 per cent. In both provinces, full-time employment has outpaced part-time, indicating that job quality is improving.

Ontario, the country’s largest job market, has seen much more modest increases in jobs. Full-time employment has grown by only 4.3 per cent, but at least it has outpaced part-time work. British Columbia has seen the greatest improvement in the quality of jobs as full-time work has increased while part-time work has actually shrunk.

Todd Hirsch • Chief Economist   November 10, 2014

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