Labour force

According to the Statistics Canada’s census data, the Slave Lake Region’s employment rate1 for the working age population of 15 years and older was 64.7% in 2006 and the participation rate2 was 71.4%. By comparison, Alberta’s employment and participation rates were 70.8% and 73.4%, respectively in 2006.

Between 2001 and 2006, the number of people employed in Alberta grew by 14.7% or by 239,800.  Over the same period, employment in the Slave Lake region grew by an estimated 800 or 7.2%.  In 2006, the Slave Lake Region made up 0.7% of Alberta’s working age population (15+ years), and the region’s increase in employment between 2001 and 2006 accounted for 0.3% of all new jobs created in Alberta over that period.   

Note: Statistics Canada cautions the reader that the regional labour force data may be subject to large year-to-year fluctuations, especially for the smaller regions, Because of these data problems, Census data for 2001 and 2006 were used for all indicators for the smaller regions such as the Slave Lake Region and data for these indicators for the other years are not included.

Economic Indicators

According to the 2006 census, the level of educational attainment is lower for this region than for Alberta. For the working aged population of between 25 and 64 years, 27.1% had a post-secondary degree or diploma, compared with 48.1% for all of Alberta.  However, the region does have a larger share holding a trades certificate: 15.6% in the region vs. 12.4% in Alberta.  35.0% of the region’s working age population did not finish high school, higher than the Alberta average of 15.4%.

Highest education attainment

Employment Insurance Beneficiaries

In 2010, 570 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits3 in the Slave Lake region, a 12% decline from the 2009 total of 650 4.  Over the same period, the number of EI recipients fell by 9% in Alberta.  As a result, the region’s share of Alberta EI recipients remained at 1.2%.  The end of the recession is also reflected in current EI estimates.  Between February 2010 and February 2011, the number of regular beneficiaries fell by an estimated 31% in the region.

The total number of income beneficiaries5 with both regular and special benefits, such as for sickness or parental leave, fell by 10% between 2009 and 2010 as most of the decrease in income beneficiaries was the result of the decrease in the number of regular beneficiaries, rather than in those receiving special benefits.

Note: although this measure provides a useful gauge of unemployment it is an imperfect measure, as it excludes self-employed workers and individuals who were unemployed for more than 12 months.  At the Canadian level, the EI beneficiaries-to-unemployed ratio was fairly stable over time prior to the recession at between 40% and 45%. In Alberta, the ratio fell gradually during the economic boom years from more than 40% in 1996 to less than 25% in 2007 and the first nine months of 2008.  The ratio climbed to more than 40% in 2009 and was 36% in 2010.

EI beneficiaries

Employment by Industry

In 2006, according to Statistics Canada’s census, the services-producing sector in the Slave Lake region accounted for about 62% of the total number employed. By comparison, the service sector accounted for 72% of Alberta’s employment.

The Retail Trade industry had the largest number of individuals employed. The Slave Lake Region accounted for 0.6% of total Alberta employment, and for 0.7% of Alberta employment in this industry. This industry is followed by the Mining and Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors.

Between 2001 and 2006, the Retail Trade industry had the largest employment gain (up 4300).  Mining and Oil and Gas industry had the second largest employment gain (up 350), because of rising oil sands output, and was also the region’s second largest industry in 2006. Employment in the Agriculture and Forestry and Education industries fell sharply by almost 300 over the same period.

Economic indicators Employment shares by industry

1 The employment rate measures the proportion of the adult population that is employed. Employment Rate = (Employed / Population 15+)*100. High labour utilization traditionally accompanies strong economic activity.

2 The participation rate measures the proportion of the adult population that is in the labour force. Participation Rate = (Labour Force / Population 15+)*100. High labour participation is an effective indicator of the level of engagement among the working age population and traditionally accompanies strong economic activity.

3 The number of beneficiaries receiving regular benefits excludes claimants receiving training, job creation and self-employment benefits as well as other employment and support measures benefits.

4 Some of this increase was the result of Canada’s Economic Action Plan providing beneficiaries with five extra weeks of regular EI benefits in 2009 and 2010.

5 The number of beneficiaries receiving total income benefits includes both the beneficiaries receiving regular benefits and those receiving special benefits, such as for training, job creation, sickness, parental.