Albertans continue to enjoy the highest average weekly earnings of all provinces in the country.
Statistics Canada reported on Thursday that average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees in the province were $1,168.41 in August, up 1.4 per cent from July and an increase of three per cent from a year ago.
“Notable earnings growth was observed in several sectors, including educational services, professional, scientific and technical services, and retail trade,” said the federal agency.
The number of employees working in Alberta also climbed in August with an additional 4,300 positions from July. That number is also up 10,300 from a year ago.
Nationally, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $1,005.89 in August, up 0.6 per cent from July and a hike of 2.9 per cent year over year.
StatsCan said average weekly earnings rose in six of the 10 largest industrial sectors compared with August 2017, led by retail trade. Earnings were little changed in manufacturing, educational services, health care and social assistance, as well as administrative and support services.
“Average weekly earnings in retail trade were up 9.7 per cent to $613 in the 12 months to August. Earnings growth was spread across multiple subsectors, including food and beverage stores, general merchandise stores, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. Most of the growth was observed from August 2017 to March 2018,” it said.
“In professional, scientific and technical services, earnings grew 6.5 per cent to $1,401 on a year-over-year basis. Earnings growth in this sector was primarily driven by the high-paying computer systems design and related services industry. Average weekly earnings in this sector were at a relative low point in August 2017. Earnings have trended up in this sector since May.
“In the 12 months to August, earnings in accommodation and food services increased 5.3 per cent to $408. Most of the earnings growth can be attributed to the full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places industry. Provincially, Ontario and Alberta contributed the most to the gains in this sector.”
Across the country, the number of non-farm payroll employees rose by 24,600 on a monthly basis.
Statistics Canada said the increase was spearheaded by health care and social assistance, itself driven by ambulatory health care services, and nursing and residential care facilities. The number of non-farm payroll employees also rose in several other sectors, including finance and insurance, and retail trade. Over the same period, employment declined in administrative and support services, in arts, entertainment and recreation, and in construction.
On an annual basis the number rose by 303,100.
“Employment grew in most sectors, led by health care and social assistance (+67,500 or +3.5 per cent), educational services (+40,700 or +3.2 per cent) and professional, scientific and technical services (+39,800 or +4.4 per cent),” it said.
“In contrast, the number of payroll employees decreased in five sectors over the previous 12 months, most notably in information and cultural industries (-5,700 or -1.7 per cent), retail trade (-5,600 or -0.3 per cent), and real estate and rental and leasing (-3,400 or -1.1 per cent).”
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.