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Alberta had second worst wage growth since 2019

Since June 2019, the last month before the UCP implemented their so-called Job Creation Tax Cut, Alberta was one of only two provinces that saw its average wage increase by less than $100 a week.

Last month, Alberta premier Jason Kenney tweeted out that Alberta workers have the highest wages in Canada.

About a week and a half later, Statistics Canada released data on average weekly data for June 2022. And it seemed like a good opportunity to see how Alberta workers fared compared to workers in other provinces.

AB$1,257.07
ON$1,179.61
BC$1,165.15
SK$1,139.57
NL$1,137.13
QC$1,105.28
NB$1,066.90
MB$1,055.70
NS$1,026.43
PEI$978.27

Sure enough, in June 2022, the average weekly wage in Alberta was higher than what the average worker in other provinces saw. In fact, Alberta workers, on average, made $77.46 more per week than workers in Ontario, which was in second place.

Now, let’s look at how those wages have changed over time.

First, here’s how weekly wages changed between May and June of this year.

May 2022Jun 2022Change% change
PEI$958.18$978.27$20.092.10%
NS$1,009.48$1,026.43$16.951.68%
MB$1,045.55$1,055.70$10.150.97%
BC$1,159.92$1,165.15$5.230.45%
NB$1,061.92$1,066.90$4.980.47%
AB$1,252.56$1,257.07$4.510.36%
SK$1,136.85$1,139.57$2.720.24%
QC$1,108.72$1,105.28-$3.44-0.31%
NL$1,151.50$1,137.13-$14.37-1.25%
ON$1,195.27$1,179.61-$15.66-1.31%

While Alberta workers did see the highest weekly wages in June 2022, on average, we saw the second lowest increase in wages over the previous May, not including Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario, which all saw wage decreases.

Alberta workers saw their average wage increase by just $4.51 a week in June. PEI workers, on the other hand, saw wages rise by over $20 a week.

Here’s how each province performed over the previous year.

Jun 2021Jun 2022Change% change
NB$1,011.71$1,066.90$55.195.46%
BC$1,115.40$1,165.15$49.754.46%
NL$1,088.74$1,137.13$48.394.44%
QC$1,060.95$1,105.28$44.334.18%
SK$1,098.56$1,139.57$41.013.73%
AB$1,216.90$1,257.07$40.173.30%
NS$990.13$1,026.43$36.303.67%
MB$1,024.62$1,055.70$31.083.03%
ON$1,148.69$1,179.61$30.922.69%
PEI$960.77$978.27$17.501.82%

Once again, Alberta workers were in 6th place, seeing a weekly increase of $40.17, on average. New Brunswick workers saw more than 5 times that increase over the last year.

And when we look at percentage increases, Alberta workers drop down to 7th place, ahead of only Manitoba, Ontario, and PEI.

Things improve for Alberta when we look at the 2-year comparison.

Jun 2020Jun 2022Change% change
BC$1,096.14$1,165.15$69.016.30%
NB$1,012.42$1,066.90$54.485.38%
MB$1,003.59$1,055.70$52.115.19%
AB$1,208.35$1,257.07$48.724.03%
QC$1,059.55$1,105.28$45.734.32%
NS$982.01$1,026.43$44.424.52%
SK$1,104.79$1,139.57$34.783.15%
ON$1,145.41$1,179.61$34.202.99%
NL$1,117.51$1,137.13$19.621.76%
PEI$979.96$978.27-$1.69-0.17%

Here we see that Alberta saw the 4th highest increase, with workers there getting an extra $48.72 a week, on average. Only BC, New Brunswick, and Manitoba saw larger increases.

On a percentage basis, however, slides 2 spots to 6th highest.

Finally, here’s a look at how much wages have changed since June 2019, the last month before the UCP implemented their so-called Job Creation Tax Cut.

Jun 2019Jun 2022Change% change
BC$992.04$1,165.15$173.1117.45%
ON$1,035.23$1,179.61$144.3813.95%
QC$963.34$1,105.28$141.9414.73%
NB$932.71$1,066.90$134.1914.39%
NS$898.03$1,026.43$128.4014.30%
PEI$857.01$978.27$121.2614.15%
MB$945.51$1,055.70$110.1911.65%
SK$1,034.84$1,139.57$104.7310.12%
AB$1,164.28$1,257.07$92.797.97%
NL$1,064.43$1,137.13$72.706.83%

And what it looks like in a chart.

This is much worse news for Alberta.

Since the UCP implemented the Job Creation Tax Cut, Alberta workers saw the second worst improvement in average weekly wages. Their increase of $92.79 put them among only two provinces with an increase under $100 a week.

BC workers topped the list, with an average increase of $173.11 a week, which is 86.6% higher than Alberta’s. Alberta workers saw an increase that was $29.58 less than the national average of $122.37.

If we calculate the average increase on all the provinces but Alberta, it comes to $125.66, which is $32.87 more than Alberta’s increase.

Also, keep in mind that inflation between June 2021 and June 2022 was 8.4%. That means that the wage increases over the last three years wasn’t even enough to cover just the increase to the cost of living over just the last year.

It’s even worse when you consider that inflation rose 13.1% between June 2019 and June 2022.

Here’s how the average weekly wages increased over the last 3 years in Alberta when broken down by industry.

Jun 2019Jun 2022Change% change
Management of companies and enterprises$1,636.42$1,921.73$285.3117.44%
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction$2,275.62$2,447.30$171.687.54%
Construction$1,444.18$1,601.26$157.0810.88%
Information and cultural industries$1,139.13$1,294.94$155.8113.68%
Professional, scientific and technical services$1,540.88$1,690.71$149.839.72%
Finance and insurance$1,423.46$1,553.87$130.419.16%
Real estate and rental and leasing$1,211.58$1,321.56$109.989.08%
Manufacturing$1,274.95$1,378.80$103.858.15%
Transportation and warehousing$1,334.89$1,425.64$90.756.80%
Public administration$1,469.25$1,550.51$81.265.53%
Arts, entertainment and recreation$622.19$689.06$66.8710.75%
Retail trade$655.88$721.97$66.0910.08%
Other services (except public administration)$986.89$1,050.80$63.916.48%
Wholesale trade$1,388.73$1,445.72$56.994.10%
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services$1,006.63$1,059.59$52.965.26%
Educational services$1,124.77$1,152.27$27.502.44%
Health care and social assistance$978.84$1,004.18$25.342.59%
Accommodation and food services$478.68$495.33$16.653.48%
Forestry, logging and support$1,388.50$1,281.89-$106.61-7.68%
Utilities$2,107.83$1,993.52-$114.31-5.42%

The largest increase in weekly wages over the last 3 years went to those working in the “management of companies and enterprises” sector, followed by the oil and gas sector.

Only two sectors—utilities and forestry, logging and support—saw a decrease in average weekly wages since June 2019.

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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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