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Impact of extensive flooding in Southern Alberta on hours worked

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Released: 2013-08-27

Extensive flooding affected Southern Alberta in the second half of June. As a result, 300,000 employed Albertans, or 13.5% of the total employed population in the province, lost 7.5 million hours of work during that period. At the same time, 134,000 people, or 6.0% of workers, put in 2.4 million additional hours. The net effect was a loss of 5.1 million hours of work.

Most hours lost in professional, scientific and technical services as well as natural resources

There was a net loss in hours worked in all industries, except utilities and public administration. Workers in these industries experienced a small net gain in their hours as a result of the flooding. In some industries, however, the net losses were large.

A significant share of professional, scientific and technical workers (27.3%) missed work in the second half of June, with the number of hours lost totalling 1.4 million. Workers in natural resources, the majority of whom are in oil and gas extraction, also totalled 1.4 million hours lost, as one in four in the industry worked fewer hours.

In utilities, 98,000 hours were added to workers' schedules as a result of the flooding. While 12.9% of utilities workers lost some work time, a similar proportion, that is 13.4%, worked extra hours. Working extra hours was also common in public administration, where 17.7% of workers put in 360,000 more hours.

In construction, 7.9% of workers put in 440,000 additional hours in the second half of June, the highest among all industries. At the same time, 13.3% of workers in the industry lost work hours, totalling 787,000, the third highest number of hours lost among all industries.

Hours lost differed between employees and the self-employed. The percentage of the employed population with hours lost was highest among private sector employees (14.2%) and lowest among public sector workers (10.3%). Also, private sector employees lost 24.3 hours on average, while public sector workers logged an average of 20.8 fewer hours. On the other hand, the percentage of self-employed workers who lost hours as a result of the floods was 13.5%. This group lost more hours (31.3) on average than private and public sector employees.

While there was a net loss in the number of hours worked by public and private sector employees as well as the self employed, there were some workers who put in extra hours. The net effect was that public sector workers lost the least hours as a result of the flood.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total work hours lost (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013 - Description and data table
Total work hours lost (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013

Chart 1: Total work hours lost (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013 - Description and data table

Chart 2  Chart 2: Total work hours gained (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013 - Description and data table
Total work hours gained (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013

Chart 2: Total work hours gained (thousands) because of flooding in Alberta, top 10 affected industries, second half of June 2013 - Description and data table

Workers aged 25 to 39 lost the most hours

The proportion working fewer hours was similar for men and women, at 13.8% and 13.2% respectively. The average number of hours lost by men, however, at 26.2 hours, was more than the 23.5 hours lost by women. Also, 7.0% of men worked additional hours and their average hours worked totalled 19.5 extra hours, while a lower proportion of women (4.8%) worked additional hours, averaging 15.0 extra hours.

Among age groups, the highest proportion of workers (14.5%) putting in fewer hours as a result of the floods was among those aged 25 to 39. Affected workers in this age group lost 26.8 hours on average, also the highest among all age groups. The total number of hours lost by workers in this age group was highest in professional, scientific and technical services, at 727,000, followed by natural resources, at 704,000.

At the same time, 13.3% of workers aged 55 to 69 missed work, putting in 24.1 fewer hours on average. Among employed young people aged 15 to 24, about 1 in 10 (10.3%) lost hours, the lowest among all major age groups, and they worked 24.5 fewer hours.

There were also many workers who logged more hours as a result of the floods. In the second half of June, 4.1% of those aged 15 to 24 worked additional hours, and their average number of hours gained, at 23.0 hours, was the highest among all major age groups.

The proportion of core-aged workers who put in extra hours was 6.6% for those aged 25 to 39 and 7.3% for those aged 40 to 54, and their hours gained averaged 18.0 and 16.4 hours, respectively.

Also, 4.2% of workers aged 55 to 69 put in more hours in the second half of June and the average number of extra hours worked for this group totalled 17.9.

  Note to readers

Data for this release were derived from questions added to the July Labour Force Survey (LFS). Special questions were added to estimate the impact on hours worked of the extensive flooding that occurred in Alberta in the second half of June (after the LFS reference week of June 9 to June 15). The impact of the flooding was in the second half of June.

In reference to the second half of June, four questions were asked of July LFS respondents aged 15 to 69 in Alberta. These questions determined how many people lost work time as a result of the flooding, and how many hours they lost, how many people worked overtime and the amount of overtime they put in. The impact of the recent flooding in Alberta on hours worked allows for some measurement of the overall economic impact.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; vincent.ferrao@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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