Alberta wages top all provinces

CALGARY – Alberta continues to lead the country when it comes to wages.

A report released Thursday by Statistics Canada indicates Alberta is the top province when it comes to average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees at $1,165 in August. That is up 0.8 per cent from the previous month and by 5.1 per cent from a year ago.

“Growth was widespread across most sectors, led by finance and insurance; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; and retail trade,� said the federal agency.

Nationally, weekly earnings of $943 increased by 0.1 per cent month-over-month and by 3.5 per cent year-over-year.

The top wages are in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction category of $2,115 a week. That is up 4.0 per cent from July and by a stunning 13.4 per cent from a year ago.

Todd Hirsch, chief economist with ATB Financial, said Alberta’s hot job market continues to lure thousands of job seekers from across the country and around the world.

“But while job opportunities are plentiful, it’s also the fat paycheques that are attracting workers,� he said.

He said the rate of earnings growth in Alberta is nearly double the rate of consumer inflation, which clocked in at 2.6 per cent in August.

“While the healthy paycheques reflect positively on our economy, there is a dark caveat,� added Hirsch. “The figures reported are only for employees of companies. It does not include the self-employed, the unemployed, or those living on fixed incomes such as pensioners or recipients of social assistance. These individuals may or may not be seeing any increase in their weekly incomes at all.�

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