On a broad range of economic indicators, our province is often the statistical outlier among the provinces. New information on the size of workers’ paycheques is keeping with this trend.
In March, Alberta employees earned an average of $1,111.20 per week. Compared to a year ago, earnings in the province are higher by 4.6 per cent—far outpacing the annual increase in consumer prices of 1.0 per cent in that month. Nationally, average weekly earnings increased by 3.1 per cent year-over-year.
The data are part of Statistics Canada’s monthly Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH). It is produced by a combination of a census of payroll deductions, provided by the Canada Revenue Agency, and the results of the Business Payrolls Survey, which collects data from a sample of 15,000 employers across the country. It counts only employees—that is, wages of the self-employed or unemployed are not captured.
But where the statistics on Albertans’ weekly earnings really stand out is in comparison to other provinces. At over $1,111 per week, earnings in this province are 21.5 per cent higher than the Canadian average ($915 per week), and even 14.9 per cent higher than earnings in second-place Saskatchewan ($967 per week).
These high wages are one of the main reasons thousands of job-seekers from across the country
continue to pour into Alberta each year. However, as newcomers to our province may discover, certain living expenses are higher here than elsewhere, especially shelter and food. This can chew into those fatter paycheques pretty quickly.*
*Courtesy of Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial