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Wage increases show momentum

Wage increases show momentum

Posted on: 10/26/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

After falling flat in July, wages crept higher in August. The weekly take home pay of employed Albertans grew about one percentage over the month to $1,134 in August. This figure is adjusted for seasonality and includes overtime pay, but excludes taxes.

In August, there were several job categories that registered increases in pay. The most significant gains were made in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas category. Weekly wages for workers in this group grew by 5.4 per cent to $2,320 per week in August. Statistics Canada notes that net employment in this higher-paying sector increased by 8,100 ( 8.3 per cent) in the 12 months leading up to August and has contributed to overall provincial earnings growth. Wages in this category are up close to four per cent, year over year.

Other noteworthy pay gains were made in finance and insurance (4.3 per cent) and real estate (3.5 per cent).

Despite overall wage growth in August, ten different job categories registered pay declines from July to August. For the second month in a row, take home pay of administrative and support, waste management and remediation services fell the most (-8.5 per cent). Other significant pay declines were recorded in forestry and logging (-6.1 per cent) as well as utilities (-3.5 per cent).

Before August, wages had been trending around or below zero for about two years. August’s wage increases have now brought this year's average wages above last year’s levels. This latest report shows that Alberta’s economy continues to gain momentum in its recovery. The fact that both employment and wages in our energy sector are up significantly from last year is good news for Alberta’s labour market and for the recovery in general.

Alberta average weekly earnings, graph

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