Canadian wages falling flat: Year-over-year, little change seen in pay

Stats Canada data shows that the national average weekly wage has barely changed from a year ago. JONATHAN HAYWARD/Canadian Press

If it seems life keeps getting more and more expensive and the only thing not increasing is your paycheque, you’re not the only one — incomes in Canada are largely stagnant.

Statistics Canada data released Thursday shows average weekly earnings for employees, nationally, was $955 in July. That’s an increase of a paltry 0.1 per cent from 12 months earlier.

READ MORE: Low-paying jobs keep Canada’s employment numbers afloat

Only two of Canada’s 10 largest sectors, educational services and construction, saw an average increase in wages over the previous 12 months.

Average weekly earnings grew in three provinces: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

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P.E.I.’s income growth, the strongest of the provinces with a 4.1 per cent increase to $829 weekly, was attributed to strength in manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade.

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Nova Scotia’s earnings “grew notably” in the education sector, while New Brunswick saw growth in its health care and social assistance sector.

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Outside the Maritimes there was little change, except for in Quebec and Alberta, which saw salary decline.

“Average earnings in Alberta were down 1.6 per cent to $1,119 in the 12 months to July, largely because of a combination of employment and earnings losses in professional, scientific, and technical services, and wholesale trade,” Statistics Canada  states.

In Quebec, “losses were widespread” with notable declines in a number of sectors.

U.S. finally seeing incomes rise

In the United States, household income surged in 2015 after years of stunted growth following the recession, largely due to improved employment rates.

The gains appeared to have helped those most in need of a pay raise — 3.5 million people were lifted out of poverty in that period.

“Real median household income increased by 5.2 per cent between 2014 and 2015 while the official poverty rate decreased 1.2 percentage points,” the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Sept. 13.

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READ MORE: More women work in Canada than the US. Here’s why

“Median household income in the United States in 2015 was $56,516, an increase in real terms of 5.2 per cent from the 2014 median income of $53,718. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession.”

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