Public and Private Sector Job Growth in the Provinces during the COVID-19 Era

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  • An analysis published by the Fraser Institute in 2022 broke down job-creation data from recent years to compare net job creation in the public and private sectors. That study found that nearly all net job creation from pre-pandemic levels had occurred in the public sector and that there had been minimal private sector job growth.
  • This bulletin updates and extends that analysis by examining job market developments at the provincial level to June 2023, comparing the rate of job creation in the public and private sectors in each province.
  • Net job growth in the public sector between February 2020 and June 2023 was 11.8 percent in the public sector and just 3.3 percent in the private sector (including self-employment).
  • In all ten provinces, the rate of job growth was faster in the public sector than in the private sector, including self-employment. In four provinces, private sector net job creation expressed in this way was negative.
  • The provinces vary widely in the extent of public and private sector job growth. Of the four largest provinces, British Columbia had the fastest rate of public sector job creation (22.6 percent) and the slowest rate of private sector job creation (0.3 percent), while Alberta had the lowest rate of government sector job growth (8.9 percent) and the fastest rate of private sector job growth (6.2 percent).

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