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AB wage growth among worst in Canada since 2019

Since August 2019, the month after the UCP implemented the Job Creation Tax Cut, Alberta 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 August 2022.

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

AB$1,257.16
ON$1,198.79
BC$1,170.23
NL$1,145.71
SK$1,143.55
QC$1,120.40
MB$1,070.27
NB$1,066.62
NS$1,027.02
PEI$975.54

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

In August 2022, the average weekly wages were $1,257.16 in Alberta. The month before, that number was $1,244.24. That’s a $12.92 increase, the largest increase in the country.

Jul 2022Aug 2022Change% change
AB$1,244.24$1,257.16$12.921.04%
MB$1,057.51$1,070.27$12.761.21%
BC$1,162.20$1,170.23$8.030.69%
SK$1,138.54$1,143.55$5.010.44%
ON$1,194.43$1,198.79$4.360.37%
QC$1,120.08$1,120.40$0.320.03%
NS$1,027.03$1,027.02-$0.010.00%
NL$1,147.49$1,145.71-$1.78-0.16%
PEI$978.04$975.54-$2.50-0.26%
NB$1,070.82$1,066.62-$4.20-0.39%

When we look at the increase as a percentage of July’s job numbers, we see that Alberta drops slightly to 2nd place, however, surpassed by Manitoba.

And the fact that Alberta had the largest increase to wages is a good thing, right?

Well, watch what happens when we look at the last year.

Aug 2021Aug 2022Change% change
NB$1,009.20$1,066.62$57.425.69%
QC$1,071.30$1,120.40$49.104.58%
MB$1,021.37$1,070.27$48.904.79%
NS$981.34$1,027.02$45.684.65%
AB$1,221.77$1,257.16$35.392.90%
ON$1,168.31$1,198.79$30.482.61%
BC$1,142.40$1,170.23$27.832.44%
PEI$948.57$975.54$26.972.84%
NL$1,119.05$1,145.71$26.662.38%
SK$1,118.48$1,143.55$25.072.24%

Alberta actually had the fifth largest increase when we compare to August 2021. So, wages still increased, but by not as much as 4 other provinces.

And we’re still in fifth place on a percentage basis.

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

Aug 2020Aug 2022Change% change
BC$1,089.35$1,170.23$80.887.42%
MB$995.90$1,070.27$74.377.47%
QC$1,052.60$1,120.40$67.806.44%
NB$1,000.69$1,066.62$65.936.59%
NS$970.72$1,027.02$56.305.80%
ON$1,147.54$1,198.79$51.254.47%
AB$1,207.83$1,257.16$49.334.08%
NL$1,102.74$1,145.71$42.973.90%
SK$1,103.41$1,143.55$40.143.64%
PEI$963.82$975.54$11.721.22%

Here we see that Alberta had the fourth smallest increase in total jobs over the last two years, as well as relative to average weekly wages in August 2020.

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

Aug 2019Aug 2022Change% change
BC$1,003.44$1,170.23$166.7916.62%
QC$967.46$1,120.40$152.9415.81%
ON$1,056.46$1,198.79$142.3313.47%
NB$943.76$1,066.62$122.8613.02%
MB$952.18$1,070.27$118.0912.40%
NS$909.13$1,027.02$117.8912.97%
SK$1,027.05$1,143.55$116.5011.34%
PEI$874.57$975.54$100.9711.55%
AB$1,165.68$1,257.16$91.487.85%
NL$1,068.18$1,145.71$77.537.26%

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 $77.53. These two were the only provinces where workers saw their average weekly wage increase by less than $100.

BC, however, had the highest increase to average weekly wages over the last 3 years, rising by $166.79 a week, nearly twice the increase that Alberta workers saw during the same period.

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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.

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