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Working trends by sector in Alberta, Part II

Working trends by sector in Alberta, Part II

Posted on: 4/27/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


The Owl looked at how workers in some sectors put in much longer hours than others in yesterday's edition. But that’s not the only measurement that varies: growth in the size of the paycheque differs even more.

The graph below shows the percentage change in average weekly earnings by sector. The timeframe is the last five years—from the boom times in 2013, through the recession, and now into the rebound of 2018. (The calculation based on earnings in February 2013 compared to February 2018.)

Despite the fact that the downturn hit the oil and gas sector hardest—it shed 25 per cent of its workers from peak to trough of the recession—wages in the energy industry are up a whopping 20.1 per cent. Workers in the energy sector bring home on average $2,428 per week, the highest in the country. Energy companies have managed to reduce operating costs not by cutting salaries or hourly compensation, but by reducing headcount.

Employees in the two lowest paying sectors—retail, and accommodation and food--saw different results. Retail workers’ earnings rose 12.2 per cent over the last five years, far better than the provincial average (5.6 per cent). Accommodation and food workers, though, saw an increase of only 3.5 per cent. The increase in the minimum wage seems to have favoured retail workers to a greater extent than it has workers in accommodation and food.

Workers in transportation and warehousing, along with those in the construction industry, are earning less now than they did five years ago.

Pay, graph​​​​

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