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Wages stall in October but rise well above last year's levels

Wages stall in October but rise well above last year's levels

Posted on: 12/20/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Many working Albertans wouldn't have noticed any change in their bank accounts in October compared to September. According to the latest statistics from Statistics Canada, average weekly wages in Alberta fell by 0.1 per cent between September and October. Compared to the same month last year, wages were 3.5 per cent higher (wage data are before taxes, include overtime pay and are adjusted for seasonality).

The average weekly wage in Alberta was $1,143 compared to $983 nationally. The average wage in Alberta remains the highest among all 10 provinces. Workers in Alberta’s oil and gas sector are still paid the highest among all sectors at $2,377 per week but are starting to see wages fall compared to the same time last year (-1.8 per cent).

Year-over-year, the real estate, rental and leasing sector saw the biggest jump in earnings at 15.6 per cent ($1,284 in September 2017). There were also substantial gains in utilities (+10.2 per cent), accommodation and food (+8.7 per cent) and finance and insurance (+7.2 per cent). Only two sectors saw wages fall compared to last October, and they were: arts, entertainment and recreation (-5.7 per cent) and oil and gas extraction (-1.8 per cent).

The average weekly earnings among the majority of working Albertans are beginning to rise well above last year’s levels. This is a sign of Alberta’s economic recovery. However, it’s important to remember that, while our province is making strides in its labour markets, we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. After all, no one wants to be like Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation." In the movie, Clark makes an advance payment on a swimming pool in anticipation of a pay bump, only to be disappointed with a “Jelly of the Month Club” membership instead.

Average weekly earnings in Alberta, graph​ ​

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