Construction workers walk up a set of stairs at Union Station during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

ATB: Public sector gains employees over COVID-19 pandemic

Job growth in the private sector is likely to pick up

Unemployment in Alberta continues to be a problem as fall approaches.

According to statistics released by ATB, the number of workers (both employees and the self-employed) in Alberta is still down by 1.6 per cent (35,400) between Feb. 2020 and July 2021.

If employment growth had not been interrupted by the pandemic, the number of jobs in the province today may be higher than in February 2020 by around 39,000, assuming modest growth, ATB said.

The number of public sector employees in the province was up by 1.2 per cent or about 5,000 over the reference period. The gains were concentrated in the education services sector while employment decreased in the public administration and health services sectors.

The number of private-sector employees was down by 2.5 per cent compared to its pre-pandemic level or about 37,200 positions.

Self-employment (which can include work paid for by both the private and public sectors), was down by 0.9 per cent or about 3,200 people whose main job takes the form of self-employment.

Job growth in the private sector is likely to pick up as the economy continues to recover and as public health restrictions are lifted.

Alberta