indicatorThe Owl

Show me the money: Wages lagged inflation in February

Consumer prices grew at more than five times the pace of wages in February

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 28 April 2022 1 min read

New data released today by Statistics Canada show that wage growth in Alberta in February continued to be outpaced by the rise in consumer prices.

The relationship between wages and inflation is particularly important at the moment given the unusually high rate at which prices have been increasing. (The same goes for other sources of income such as Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments, but this is a matter of how these programs are indexed to inflation rather than how much employers are paying their workers.)

Seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings (including overtime) in Alberta were 1.0% higher in February than the same month the year before. At 5.5%, the provincial inflation rate in February was well above the small bump in average earnings.

Nationally, year-over-year earnings grew by 2.4% while prices rose by 5.7% over the same period.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings grew at the fastest rate in the management of companies sector (+10.0% to $1,995) followed by manufacturing (+9.6% to $1,423) and retail (+8.0% to $736) in February.

Sectors that saw average wages fall compared to a year ago include information and culture (-32.1% to $1,451), arts, entertainment and recreation (-10.2% to $667) and health care and social assistance (-3.6% to $965).

Tighter labour market conditions are expected to put upward pressure on wages going forward, but the growth will likely still not be enough to keep up with red hot inflation.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Wendy’s was the fast-food chain behind the infamous “Where’s the Beef?” ad campaign in 1984.

Today’s trivia question: Who is the highest paid NHL hockey player?

On a year-over-year basis, seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings in Alberta were 1.0% higher in February 2022

On a year-over-year basis, seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings in Alberta were 1.0% higher in February

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