Social Well-Being 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

CEmployment & Labour

C4Unemployment RateEdmonton CMA

Trend Analysis

Short Term


Long Term



Employment-related measures indicate the strength of an economy and, accordingly, the population’s ability to sustain itself. Higher unemployment rates lead to more people needing income support to maintain a minimal standard of living and challenge governments and businesses to find opportunities to stimulate job growth. Lower unemployment rates also have their challenges—for instance, employed individuals may struggle to balance their work and family roles, and may face difficulties to secure adequate child care or obtain affordable housing. 

The unemployment rates experienced by Indigenous peoples and youth are significantly higher at all times, but especially during economic downturns. While unemployment rates for women have typically been lower than those for men, especially in recent years, women’s earnings from employment continue to be significantly lower than those of men. 

Unemployment Rate

  • Fluctuations in the unemployment rate are very sensitive to underlying economic conditions.
  • The unemployment rate in Alberta is very sensitive to underlying economic conditions, such as rising and falling oil prices. The unemployment rate tends to be a lagging indicator and can keep increasing for a time even after an economic recovery is underway. That’s because people who had previously given up looking for work re-enter the labour force and start job searching again.
  • In 2020, Edmonton’s unemployment rate averaged 12%.
  • At the end of the global financial crisis, Edmonton’s unemployment rate peaked at 7.0% in 2010, declined rapidly to 4.7% in 2012, and then rose to another peak of 8.2% in 2017.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to the highest rate on record, 12%. This represents a growth of 4.5 percentage points from the previous year.

C1 to C6. Employment and Unemployment
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0385-01 Labour force characteristics, annual (only for years 2006-2020)
Years 1991-2005 from past Tracking the Trends

C7. Duration of Unemployment
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0057-01 Duration of un-employment, annual

C8. Off Reserve Indigenous unemployment
Off-Reserve Indigenous Unemployment, Edmonton: Government of Alberta (2017). Labour Force statistics: Alberta Indigenous People Living Off-Reserve Package. Retrieved from

C9 and C10. Seniors and employment
Statistics Canada. Table 11-10-0039-01 - Characteristics of seniors, tax-filers and dependents, seniors with income by source of income and age groups, annual

C11 and C12. Population by Occupation
Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0314-01 Employment by census metropolitan areas and occupation, annual (x 1,000)

(1) Raphael, D. (2004). Introduction to the social determinants of health. In D. Raphael (ed.) Social Determinates of Health: Canadian perspectives. Toronto: Canadian Scholar's Press Inc.

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