Weekly earnings still outpacing inflation

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  It appears Albertans are enjoying not only more employment opportunities, but on average, they also seem to be prepared financially to better handle increases to rates compared to employees in other provinces.

With rising prices for gasoline and electricity, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind. However, according to data released this morning, most employees in Alberta are more than keeping their financial heads above water—at least on average.
Alberta employees saw their paycheques increase by 3.9 per cent in June compared to a year ago. The average weekly earnings in the province was $1,109 dollars, which includes overtime but not taxes. With consumer price inflation running at 2.3 per cent in the same month, most households are at least keeping pace with rising prices.
Nationally, employees earn an average of $919 per week, up only 2.6 per cent annually. Alberta continues to have by far the highest average earnings in the country. Employees in Saskatchewan come in second with earnings of $952.
The data collected on average weekly earnings, however, are only for employees. The self-employed or the unemployed are not included in the survey. So, for example, if someone has been laid off and their weekly earnings have gone to $0, this is not included in the average. Still, with the unemployment rate in Alberta at a very nicely balanced 4.5 per cent, we know that most Alberta households are seeing their earnings climbing at a rate still outpacing inflation.
The rising average earnings is good news for job seekers, of course. But for employers in the province, rising wages continues to add pressure to their overall operation costs.

Todd Hirsch • Chief Economist

August 28, 2013

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