Alberta workers benefit from roaring economy

April 4, 2012 | By | Reply More

Average five-year increase across all sectors in Alberta was 24.6 per cent

The Alberta oil sands alone is expected to require 800,000 new workers by 2030.

The average wage earned by employees in Alberta is quite uneven across sectors, accounting for variations in education and training, as well as the demand within the specific industry for skilled workers.

But the rate at which earnings are increasing also shows some big differences across the sectors – and often the biggest jumps are for those already earning the most.

Alberta workers in the oil and gas sector not only have the highest weekly earnings, but these workers have seen one of the biggest jumps over the past five years. In January 2007, they earned on average $1,459 per week; but in January 2012, they raked in $2,061 per week – an increase of 41.3 per cent.

The very largest percentage jump over the last five years went to employees in the professional management of companies and enterprises, often known as consultants, with a whopping 47 per cent increase.



Weekly wages of employees in the utilities sector, which also have above average paycheques, rose 35.8 per cent over the past five years. Construction workers also did well (+31.8 per cent).

The average five-year increase across all sectors in Alberta was 24.6 per cent, still well above the 6.6 per cent increase in the consumer price index over the same period.

Those sectors below the average five-year increase still include some high-wage earners, such as public administration (+23 per cent), professional, scientific and technical (+21 per cent), and manufacturing (17 per cent).

The sector whose employees saw the very smallest average increase in earnings over the past five years was forestry. Weekly earnings here have increased by only 7.8 per cent. That is still above the pace of inflation, but just barely.

Canada’s GDP growth slows

The value of all goods and services produced in the Canadian economy grew in January, but by a slower pace than it did in the previous month. The national GDP expanded by 0.1 per cent in the first month of 2012 (month-over-month). Compared to January of 2011, the total economy is larger by 1.7 per cent.

According to the release yesterday morning by Statistics Canada:

“Gains in manufacturing were partly offset by a decline in oil and gas extraction in January. Increases were also posted in the finance and insurance sector, utilities, wholesale trade, some tourism-related industries and the public sector (education, health and public administration combined). Decreases were recorded in forestry and logging, arts, entertainment and recreation as well as in construction.

Oil and gas extraction declined 0.9 per cent as a notable decrease in natural gas extraction outweighed the gain in crude petroleum production. Storage of natural gas increased significantly in December and January.”

Federal budget

The reduction in spending in the federal government’s 2012-13 budget was not quite as large as some had feared. The reduction in spending amounts to approximately $5.2 billion.

According to the budget speech, the Harper government’s plan for returning to balanced budgets over the medium term is on track. The deficit in 2011-12 is projected to be $8.5 billion lower than it was in 2010-11, and it is projected to decrease by an additional $3.8 billion in 2012-13. The deficit is projected to continue to decline to $1.3 billion in 2014-15.

Highlights (from the budget documents):

• Making major investments of over $1 billion to support science and technology.

• Providing $500 million to spur the growth of innovative start-up companies.

• Ensuring responsible resource development by moving to “one project, one review” within a clearly defined time period for major economic projects while continuing to protect the environment.

• Opening new markets and expanding international trade, bringing Canadian goods to the world.

• Extending the Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year to make it more attractive for small businesses to grow and hire more workers.

• Providing $150 million over two years for the new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

• Providing $5.2 billion over 11 years to renew the Canadian Coast Guard.

• Better focusing Employment Insurance on promoting job creation by removing disincentives to work and supporting unemployed Canadians by connecting them more quickly to jobs.

• Providing $275 million over three years to support First Nations education and build and renovate schools on reserve.

• Building a fast and flexible economic immigration system to attract immigrants with the skills and experience our economy needs.

The government also plans to gradually increase the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits from 65 to 67, starting in April 2023, to be fully implemented by 2029.

Also contained in the budget is the plan to eliminate the production of the Canadian 1-cent coin – a move that will save the government millions, but has attracted the majority of public attention in the budget.


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Category: Alberta, Business

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