Alberta continues to be the place to be for job seekers in Canada. And not only are jobs more plentiful, they pay (on average) the most and are rising more quickly than the Canadian average.
In December, the average weekly earnings of employees in Alberta rose to $1.064.80—a 5.2% increase over the level a year ago. Average earnings in Canada rose by less than half that amount (+2.4%), and among the provinces, only earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador rose faster (+5.8%).
Statistics Canada’s Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), provides a snapshot of the labour market from the side of employers, which complements the information from the monthly Labour Force Survey. The SEPH, released today for December 2011, reports information about Canadians who work for employers. It does not capture earnings of those who are self-employed, or for those who are unemployed.
Average earnings in Alberta have continued to outpace consumer inflation over the past few years, and the gap widened in December. With earnings rising by 5.2%, and consumer prices rising by only 2.9%, the real earnings (i.e., adjusted for inflation) rose by 2.3%.
However, some caution is needed in interpreting these numbers. The 5.2% increase is only an average—and that average can be skewed by big gains in oil and gas extraction, where earnings are up 8.5%. Not every Albertan in every sector is experiencing such a big jump in earnings—yet everyone is facing the same consumer price inflation.*
*Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist, ATB Financial