indicatorThe Owl

Employee compensation down the most in Alberta

Annual employee compensation in Alberta was lower in all major sub-sectors except federal public administration and agriculture and forestry

By ATB Economics 3 March 2021 1 min read

The (unadjusted) compensation paid to employees in Alberta fell by 6.0 per cent ($10.0 billion) in 2020 compared to 2019. Nationally, the drop was 1.6 per cent ($18.5 billion). If Alberta is excluded, the drop in the rest of Canada was just 0.8 per cent ($8.5 billion).

Compensation in Alberta was down the most in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019 (11.2 per cent), but was still down by 6.2 per cent in the fourth quarter. Compensation edged up by 0.2 per cent nationally over the same period; it was up by 1.2 per cent if Alberta is excluded.

Annual employee compensation improved in four provinces (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec). The next largest drop in annual compensation after Alberta was in Newfoundland and Labrador (down 4.1 per cent) followed by Manitoba (down 2.8 per cent).

Annual employee compensation in Alberta was lower in all major sub-sectors except federal public administration and agriculture and forestry.

The largest absolute and percentage drop in Alberta was in the professional and personal services category. Annual employee compensation in this sub-sector fell by $2.9 billion (10.8 per cent) in 2020.  The next largest absolute drop was in construction at $1.6 billion (9.6 per cent) followed by oil and gas at $1.2 billion (7.2 per cent).

The steeper decline in employee compensation in Alberta last year compared to the rest of the country is partially explained by the global oil price crash that reduced activity in the province’s oil patch.

Answer to the previous trivia question: China is the largest potato producer in the world at about 91.9 million tonnes in 2019. Canada produced 5.4 million tonnes that year.

Today’s trivia question: In what season did the Edmonton Oilers join the National Hockey League?

The next largest drop in annual compensation after Alberta was in Newfoundland and Labrador

The next largest drop in annual compensation after Alberta was in Newfoundland and Labrador


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