BUSINESS

The One Way Alberta Still Beats The Rest Of Canada: Paycheques

02/27/2016 01:31 EST | Updated 02/29/2016 05:59 EST
Aaron Black via Getty Images
Women enjoys a view of Calgary at night from the George C. King Bridge.

Alberta’s economy is tanking in the wake of the oil price crash, but recent data from Statistics Canada show the province is still on top by one measure: what people earn.

The average weekly wage in the province was $1,146.56 in December, nearly 20 per cent higher than the national average of $959, StatsCan reported.

But before you pack your bags for Calgary, you should know there is another way that Alberta stands out on wage data: Though wages rose in the province in December, Alberta is the only province where wages are down from a year ago.

Wages are down one per cent in 12 months — not surprising, given that the province has lost 3.2 per cent of all its jobs over the past year, or about 66,000 positions. You can stop packing those bags now.

wage growth canada

Year-over-year wage growth by province. Ontario leads the way, and Alberta is the only place where wages are shrinking.

So who's winning on wage growth? That would be Ontario, which has been benefitting (somewhat unevenly) from the lower loonie and lower gas prices that are making those long GTA commutes cheaper. Wages are up 2.3 per cent in a year, while the number of jobs in the province has jumped a solid 2.8 per cent, or 166,000 new jobs.

Still, Alberta’s high earnings — a legacy of the same energy industry that’s now struggling — means consumer demand is likely to be stronger than it would be in other parts of the country in times of recession. And that will help to cushion the economic blow.

Here are average weekly earnings across Canada, by province:

average weekly earnings

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