Alberta Politics

Despair & disrepair: the UCP record on jobs

Alberta is in despair and disrepair. But it doesn’t have to be.

Jason Kenney and the Alberta UCP rode to a dominant victor in the spring 2019 election on a promise to deliver jobs, economy, pipelines, and a balanced budget.

I’m going to begin a series taking a look at some of the signature commitments the UCP made in their 2019 campaign promises, and whether or not they’ve delivered thus far.

Later on I’ll explore some policy solutions that could help change the course for Alberta.

First up: Jobs.

After an economically perilous four years under the NDP that had more to do with market changes than actual governance, Albertans were buoyed by the UCP’s message of hope on the horizon – even if that hope was built on shaky and often false foundations.

In May of 2015, when the NDP took power, Alberta’s jobless rate was sitting at 6.2% and overall employment was at 2.324 million people.

For the final 12 months of the NDP’s first and only (thus far) term, the jobless rate was 6.7% – an increase of 0.5%. However, there was a net gain in employment during the NDP’s tenure of 11,500 jobs.

To be fair to the UCP, let’s exclude the period that has been impacted by Covid19 from March 2020 onwards and just examine their jobs record up to the start of the pandemic.

In May of 2019 when they were sworn in, Alberta’s jobless rate was at 6.8%. By February of 2020 that rate was sitting at 7.5% an increase of 0.7% in less than a year.

Total employment was 2.366 million in May of 2019. By February of 2020 that had dropped to 2.303 million, a net loss of 63,000 jobs.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

So, when it comes to jobs, I’m afraid we have to give the UCP an F, even before Covid19 impacted.


Robbie Kreger-Smith is a consultant for restaurants, communications, and marketing with previous partisan political experience in Alberta.

Connect: @RKSAlberta

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