Social Well-Being Indicator Tracker
Our social well-being indicators are based on social determinants of health. These indicators are the economic and social conditions that shape the health of individuals and communities. Social determinants of health also determine the extent to which a person possesses the physical, social, and personal resources to identify and achieve personal aspirations, satisfy needs, and cope with the environment. Social determinants of health are about the quantity and quality of a variety of resources that a society makes available to its members. Important considerations include both the quality and their distribution amongst the population. 1
We have organized our social well-being indicators into seven main categories: A - Demographics, B - Income (B - Income, has been separated into four subcategories to handle the complexity and volume of data in this indicator) BA - Income and Income Gaps, BB - Poverty, BC - Cost of Living, BD - Government Transfers, C - Employment and Labour, D - Education and Literacy, E - Built Environment, F - Social Inclusion, G - Health and Health Services.
CEmployment and LabourIndicators
Employment-related measures indicate the strength of an economy and, accordingly, the population’s ability to sustain itself. The higher the unemployment rate, the more people will need income support to maintain a minimal standard of living. Times of high unemployment rates additionally challenge government and business to find opportunities to stimulate job growth. Times of low unemployment rates also have their challenges. For instance, working families may struggle to balance their work and family roles, and may face difficulties securing adequate childcare or obtaining affordable shelter. As Indicator C illustrates, the cost of living continues to increase, regardless of overall economic trends.
Over the past 20 years the number of employed persons in the Edmonton CMA grew with the addition of over 300,000 new jobs. During the same time period, the labour market participation rate of those 15 years and older has increased slightly. This reflects the city’s relatively young population. Meanwhile, the proportion of jobs that are part-time has declined slightly.
Despite the overall strong job market, there have been two periods in the past 20 years that dealt with more challenging labour market conditions. These came about when the unemployment rate went up and the job market stalled or reversed. The first such period lasted from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2010, during what is known as the global financial crisis. The second period began in the fall of 2014 with a steep drop in world oil prices and persisted into the late summer of 2017. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused mass job losses as businesses closed to slow the spread of the virus. Although not captured in the following charts, future Tracking the Trends will show the impact of the pandemic on employment and wealth.
The unemployment rates experienced by Indigenous peoples living in Edmonton, and youth, are significantly higher at all times but especially during economic downturns. While unemployment rates for women have tended to be lower than those for men, especially in recent years, women’s earnings from employment continue to be significantly lower than those of men.