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Earnings hold steady for Alberta employees

Earnings hold steady for Alberta employees

Posted on: 6/28/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​As our economy gradually crawls back to life, more and more workers are finding jobs. But what some employees may be noticing is the lagging size of their pay cheques. Wages have not yet returned to their pre-recession levels—although they are getting close.

Statistics Canada reports that average weekly earnings in this province topped $1,153 in April, unchanged from May and up 2.4 per cent from a year ago. (This figure is before taxes and other deductions, but includes overtime pay. It is also adjusted for seasonality.) Earnings are also up 4.6 per cent from May 2016, which was the lowest point during the recession. However, even though wages have risen over the last few years, they are still below the peak that occurred in December 2014.

The graph below shows earnings in Alberta compared to the national average. The impact of the oil price downturn in 2015 and 2016 is evident by the dip in Alberta wages, while wages in Canada continued to climb. Today, earnings in Alberta are still the highest among the provinces and are 16 per cent above the national average.

The highest paid employees in the province are in the energy sector, with earnings of $2,344 per week—more than double the provincial average. Employees in food and accommodation, with disproportionately more part-time and entry level positions, earn the least at $477 per week.

Weekly earnings, graph

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