From the onset of the COVID pandemic, Alberta has led all Canadian provinces in private-sector job growth while the size of government exploded nationwide.
From February 2020 to June 2023, total employment in Alberta increased by 154,900 jobs (6.7%). Of this, only 37,200 jobs (24.0%) occurred in the public sector.
According to a recent Fraser Institute report, Alberta's private and public sector job losses and recovery is "unique" among the four largest provinces. It has the slowest rate of job growth in the government sector and the fastest increase in private-sector employment.
Net public sector jobs grew by 8.9%, compared with 6.2% in the private sector (including self-employment).
"Alberta is the economic and job creation engine of Canada. Our strong, business-friendly policies continue to create jobs and attract investment throughout the province," said Alberta Jobs Spokesperson Andrea Smith.
Like Ontario and Québec, when the pandemic hit, the private sector suffered much steeper job losses than the public sector. Unlike those two provinces, however, Alberta saw a more rapid pace of private sector job growth in the months following the immediate recovery period.
Private sector employment reached pre-pandemic levels in January 2022, chronologically close to those in Ontario and Quebec, but has seen more robust growth since.
The Fraser Institute also contends that public sector job losses in Alberta at the outset of the pandemic were much milder and the recovery faster than in the private sector.
The public sector quickly regained the jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic, returning to February 2020 levels by September of that year. Job growth in the public sector since then, however, has been comparatively muted.
According to Smith, Alberta's employment has "grown well above the national average" over the past 12 months. "In fact, between July 2022 and July 2023, Alberta gained over 80,000 jobs, with private sector jobs accounting for 74% of the province's employment gains," she said.
The Job Ministry attributes the province's competitive investment environment to bolstering the post-pandemic recovery. It attracted over $63 billion in capital investment last year.
However, Rebel News also asked Smith what percentage of inter-provincial workers from the 'Alberta is Calling' campaign worked in the private sector. We have yet to receive a response at the time of writing.
Last year, a September report from the Alberta Treasury Branch found that nearly 10,000 more people moved to Alberta from other provinces than left in the second quarter of 2022.
In the same quarter, Ontario lost the most significant number of people, around 25, to interprovincial immigration. Exactly 21,008 Ontarians left for other provinces, of which 6,281 moved to Alberta.
According to a Statistics Canada report released in December, Alberta workers took home the highest weekly earnings of any province, at $1,268. Alberta families earned a median after-tax income of $104,000 in 2020 — $7,000 more than Ontarian families.
In March, Alberta announced its second crack at the campaign to attract more skilled labourers, with an expanded mandate to include workers from the Maritimes and other parts of Ontario, such as London, Hamilton, Windsor, and Sudbury.
Then Jobs Minister Brian Jean said the province wants skilled workers to join its thriving economy as it "creates good-paying jobs, attracts investment and pursues diversification" in skilled trades, healthcare, food service and hospitality, accounting, engineering and technology.
Nicky Gocuan, an Alberta Red Tape Reduction spokesperson, said the UCP saved Albertans and job creators over $2.6 billion by cutting red tape. She contends these savings support job creation and economic growth.
"By getting out of the way of job creators, we were able to enhance competitiveness and create more jobs for Albertans," said Gocuan, adding that Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction have cut red tape by 32%.
She pridefully notes that Alberta received an "A-" grade from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) on reducing red tape — the highest among all provinces.