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AB wage growth 2nd worst in Canada, despite “Job Creation Tax Cut”

Since June 2019, the month before the UCP implemented the Job Creation Tax Cut, Alberta has had the second worst wage growth in Canada.

Last week, Statistics Canada released updated data on employment and average weekly earnings for each of the provinces. The new seasonally adjusted data was as of September 2022.

I figured I’d take a look to see how the wage situation looks in Alberta.

AB$1,266.05
ON$1,206.70
BC$1,175.98
NL$1,159.31
SK$1,155.70
QC$1,118.25
NB$1,082.99
MB$1,066.67
NS$1,020.83
PEI$985.73

Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the highest average weekly wages in Canada. This is something Alberta politicians have been extolling for years.

But take a look at the increase in weekly wages.

In September 2022, the average weekly wages were $1,266.05 in Alberta. The month before, that number was $1,258.79. That’s a $7.26 increase, the fourth largest increase in the country.

Aug 2022Sep 2022Change% change
SK$1,142.81$1,155.70$12.891.13%
NL$1,147.44$1,159.31$11.871.03%
ON$1,197.21$1,206.70$9.490.79%
AB$1,258.79$1,266.05$7.260.58%
BC$1,171.80$1,175.98$4.180.36%
QC$1,118.10$1,118.25$0.150.01%
MB$1,068.41$1,066.67-$1.74-0.16%
NS$1,024.11$1,020.83-$3.28-0.32%
PEI$991.50$985.73-$5.77-0.58%
NB$1,304.14$1,082.99-$221.15-16.96%

When we look at the increase as a percentage of August’s job numbers, we see that Alberta is still in 4th place. So, even though the average Alberta worker had the highest weekly wages in the country, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario workers saw their wages increase more.

The national increase was $2.32 more a week, so at least Alberta was above the national average.

Next, let’s look at the last year.

Sep 2021Sep 2022Change% change
NB$1,018.33$1,082.99$64.666.35%
ON$1,164.52$1,206.70$42.183.62%
QC$1,078.53$1,118.25$39.723.68%
SK$1,116.38$1,155.70$39.323.52%
NL$1,122.47$1,159.31$36.843.28%
MB$1,030.13$1,066.67$36.543.55%
BC$1,139.64$1,175.98$36.343.19%
NS$985.30$1,020.83$35.533.61%
AB$1,233.57$1,266.05$32.482.63%
PEI$962.17$985.73$23.562.45%

Alberta actually had the second smallest increase when we compare to September 2021. So, wages still increased, but by not as much as 8 other provinces.

The national average was $39.45, which was basically $7 more a week than what workers in Alberta saw wages increase by.

And we’re also in second-to-last place on a percentage basis.

Here’s what job numbers look like when we compare September 2022 to September 2020, six months into the pandemic.

Sep 2020Sep 2022Change% change
BC$1,093.75$1,175.98$82.237.52%
NB$1,000.83$1,082.99$82.168.21%
MB$993.55$1,066.67$73.127.36%
QC$1,048.55$1,118.25$69.706.65%
AB$1,199.78$1,266.05$66.275.52%
NL$1,094.05$1,159.31$65.265.96%
NS$958.22$1,020.83$62.616.53%
ON$1,147.66$1,206.70$59.045.14%
SK$1,100.52$1,155.70$55.185.01%
PEI$954.62$985.73$31.113.26%

Here we see that Alberta had the fifth largest increase in total jobs over the last two years, but seventh largest relative to average weekly wages in September 2020.

The national average wage increased $67.17 between September 2020 and September 2022, which is just 90¢ more than the increase Alberta workers saw.

But look how bad things are if we go 3 years out, to June 2019, the month before the UCP cut the corporate profit tax, what they called a “Job Creation Tax Cut”.

Jun 2019Sep 2022Change% change
BC$992.04$1,175.98$183.9418.54%
ON$1,035.23$1,206.70$171.4716.56%
QC$963.34$1,118.25$154.9116.08%
NB$932.71$1,082.99$150.2816.11%
PEI$857.01$985.73$128.7215.02%
NS$898.03$1,020.83$122.8013.67%
MB$945.51$1,066.67$121.1612.81%
SK$1,034.84$1,155.70$120.8611.68%
AB$1,164.28$1,266.05$101.778.74%
NL$1,064.43$1,159.31$94.888.91%

Alberta’s growth in average weekly wages since August 2019 was the second lowest of all the provinces in Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the lowest, at $94.88; although relative to how much workers were making in June 2019, Alberta had the smallest increase

BC, however, had the highest increase to average weekly wages over the last 3 years, rising by $183.94 a week, nearly twice the increase that Alberta workers saw during the same period.

If these sort of increases keep happening, Alberta workers may no longer have the highest wages in the country.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

One reply on “AB wage growth 2nd worst in Canada, despite “Job Creation Tax Cut””

So those of us who’ve noted that the AB ‘advantage” seemed to disappear with that ridiculous tax cut have now been vindicated? Say it isn’t so!
But where’s the 55000 jobs the UCP said would miraculously appear with the lowest corporate tax rate in Canada??

Why do the right-wing parties continue to support the so-called ‘trickle-down economics’?
It’s because the UCP clearly doesn’t care about regular Albertans. They only care about money. Cutting taxes on their corporate friends nets them political/monetary support plus gifts (grifts?) like board member positions when they retire from politics. I suspect that they get to fill their own pockets along the way, I just haven’t figured out how that’s being done. E.g. Jason Kenney is rumoured to have a $19M net worth after decades of being a “public servant”; similar with Pierre Poilievre, lifelong politician & current leader of the CPC.

We’ve repeatedly seen this failure of corporate tax cuts to create jobs, so many times over the years. Why do AB voters continue to fall for this ruse? Why does anyone believe this?
Albertans seem convinced that it’s so much cheaper to live in AB with no PST, but the CPI data that you’ve posted indicates that’s just not true either. Have we been brainwashed by constant propaganda? Or are conservatives so threatened by progressive politics that they’re willing to cut off their own nose to spite their face? Do they see themselves as displaced millionaires?
I would like to understand, but even more I’d like for the non-conservative political parties to get better at messaging.

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