A North American ranking of labour market performance places Alberta closer to the bottom of the list of all 10 Canadian provinces and 50 U.S. states.

The study, Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States, 2019 by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy think-tank, ranked Alberta 53rd out of 60.

Ben Eisen

Ben Eisen
Senior fellow at the Fraser Institute

All 10 Canadian provinces ranked in the bottom half of the 60 jurisdictions with British Columbia (31st) and Quebec (48th) the highest-ranked provinces.

“This Labour Day, as we remember that strong labour markets mean more opportunities and higher living standards for workers, the stronger performance of U.S. states should concern all Canadians including policymakers,” said Steve Lafleur, senior policy analyst at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the report.

Three of the five lowest ranked jurisdictions are Canadian: New Brunswick (58th), Nova Scotia (59th) and Newfoundland and Labrador (last at 60th).

The study calculates an Index of Labour Market Performance, which is a composite measure of labour market performance based on eight equally weighted indicators:

  • average annual total employment growth;
  • average annual private-sector employment growth;
  • average total employment rate;
  • average private-sector employment rate;
  • average unemployment rate;
  • average long-term unemployment;
  • average share of involuntary part-time workers;
  • average output per worker.

The index scores range from zero to 100. A higher score means a jurisdiction has a stronger performing labour market while a lower score indicates a labour market with weaker performance.

“The relatively low employment growth rates in several provinces will limit the ability of workers to prosper for themselves and their families,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

The report said Colorado topped the list of U.S. states and Canadian provinces for overall labour market performance over the three-year period. The state’s strong performance in total employment, private-sector employment rate, unemployment rate and share of involuntary part-time workers enabled it to achieve the highest overall index score of 81.0 out of 100.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Statistics Canada reported that the number of non-farm payroll employees in Alberta was down in June by 3,100 from the previous month but still up 8,900 year over year. Also, average weekly earnings in the province of $1,169.85 fell by 1.1 per cent on a monthly basis but was up 1.9 per cent from a year ago.

This article was written by Mario Toneguzzi, a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.

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