Sluggish job market or not, wage growth in Canada is picking up, new data from StatsCan shows.
Wages in Canada jumped by 1.6 per cent in just one month, from August to September, StatsCan’s latest survey of payroll employment, earnings and hours shows.
That works out to an annual growth rate of more than 19 per cent — far too fast to last for very long, and possibly a statistical anomaly. A more reliable indicator is the change over the past year, which shows Canadians’ average weekly earnings grew by 1.7 per cent, slightly more than the one-per-cent rate of inflation.
But some industries are doing a lot better than that.
Jobs in management, education and wholesale trade have all seen wage hikes of more than 5 per cent over the past year. But the crown belongs to forestry jobs, which have seen a whopping 10.1-per-cent increase in wages.
The wage growth in forestry is somewhat surprising, given the softness in resource industries these days.
Take the mining, oil and gas sector, for instance. Wages there are down 5.7 per cent from a year ago — no surprise given the collapse in oil prices.
Nearly 12 per cent of the jobs in that sector have disappeared over the past year, StatsCan’s survey showed, with most of those job losses in Alberta.
Alberta is also the only province in Canada seeing falling wages. As economists predicted, the oil price collapse has been bad for the province but largely good for central Canada’s manufacturing and service economies.
In a major reversal from the trend of the past few years, Ontario and Quebec are near the top for wage gains. But the winner for wage gains, somehow, is P.E.I.
Overall, September appeared to be a great month for jobs in Canada, with the country churning out a net 30,700 new jobs in the month, the payroll and hours report showed.
Still, the overall jobs picture in Canada hasn’t been pretty over the past year. The economy added just 98,200 jobs in the past 12 months, an increase of 0.6 per cent — not nearly enough to cover population growth, at around 0.9 per cent.