Half of Alberta’s job sectors now employ more people than before COVID-19 pandemic: ATB

Many sectors of Alberta’s economy now employ more people than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, while others are still languishing, according to an analysis of the latest Statistics Canada data.

“Eight out of the 16 main sectors had employment levels above where they were just before the pandemic,” Alberta’s ATB Financial noted in a release on Monday.

“The finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector was up the most with 18,600 more jobs in May 2021 than in February 2020.”

Rising commodity prices have boosted the sector that includes forestry, mining and oil and gas, which grew by 14,000 jobs over the course of the past 15 months.

The construction sector was also a strong performer, adding 13,800 jobs.

“At the other end of the continuum were sectors still dealing with the impact of public health restrictions,” ATB Financial said.

The information, culture and recreation sector was still 18,700 jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

And the accommodation and food services sector remains hardest hit, having shed 57,600 jobs — a 37.7-per-cent decline — from February 2020 to May 2021. 

Overall, across all industries, employment was down 47,500 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Looking ahead, the number of jobs should go up in June as health restrictions are lifted,” ATB Financial said in an earlier release, from Friday.

“But,” it also noted, “the unemployment rate may increase as more job seekers enter the labour force.”

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