Alberta unemployment rate drops, but labour shortages still common in many industries

Alberta’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend last month, dropping to the lowest it’s been since 2015.

That comes as good news for those looking for work, but tough news for businesses and companies looking for hard-to-find workers.

BACKGROUND: Alberta unemployment rate at lowest level in six years

Express Employment Professionals tells CityNews some companies are forced to increase their wage and salary by three to eight per cent to get job positions filled.

That’s something the hospitality industry has gotten familiar with, according to the president of the Alberta Hospitality Industry.

“There’s been some great hourly rates and rises in our industry, and incentives,” said Ernie Tsu. “Some great incentives for people wanting to work in our industry right now.”

The hospitality industry is starting to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, but they don’t have enough people willing to serve food and drinks to keep up, forcing some businesses to reduce hours or even shut down completely.

“There are a lot of great jobs out there in our industry from hotels, to bars, to restaurants to tourism right now as well,” said Tsu. “It’s a matter of getting the public out there and getting them working.”


It isn’t just the hospitality industry struggling to find workers says Mike Holden, the chief economist of the Business Council of Alberta.

“If you ask anyone in construction, transportation and trucking and health-care services, everyone is struggling to find workers these days,” he said.

Holden says a lot of those who are available to work might not have the skills required in some workplaces. Another factor playing into these shortages is Alberta’s growing population, according to Holden.

“As the population ages, we see more people in the 55-plus age range, and those workers tend to not be as active in the labour market,” he said. “So that sort of shrinks the size of the labour pool that is available.”

Holden believes this will be a long-term issue, and says immigration and inter-provincial migration to fill some of these jobs will be the key to addressing the labour shortages in the province.

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