Canadians’ average weekly earnings were unchanged in February, at $925 compared to $922 a month earlier, StatsCan reported Tuesday, but earnings still managed to grow 2.3 per cent over the past year.
Surprisingly, the largest wage gains weren’t seen in the resource-rich economies of Alberta and Saskatchewan; rather, that honour went to Manitoba and Nova Scotia, both of which saw wage gains of more than 4 per cent over the past year.
But before you pack up for Winnipeg or Halifax, consider this catch: Both those provinces actually saw the total number of jobs shrink over the past year. Manitoba has 1.3 per cent fewer jobs than it did a year ago, while Nova Scotia lost 1.2 per cent of all its jobs.
It may be that those “wage hikes” are actually the result of low-end jobs disappearing, dragging up the average salary among those people who still have work.
Compare that to Alberta, where wage gains were 3.1 per cent and the total number of jobs grew 3.2 per cent -- seemingly a much healthier job market.
Here’s a breakdown of job numbers and wage gains by province (story continues below):
In all, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba all saw job losses over the past year.
Canada’s job market has been struggling since last year, with 2013 marking the slowest year for job growth in Canada outside a recession in a decade.
After months of see-sawing numbers and few job gains, March saw something of a bounce-back, with 43,000 jobs added.
Canada’s unemployment rate climbed above that of the U.S. at the end of last year, and has stayed there. For March, Canada’s jobless rate was 6.9 per cent, compared to 6.7 per cent in the U.S.