Today, Statistics Canada reported a seemingly impressive monthly rise of 0.9% in average weekly earnings, from $906.24 in April to $914.68 in May. Digging a bit deeper reveals that average weekly earnings for workers paid by the hour – the majority of Canadian employees – edged up by only 0.2%, from $695.21 in April to $696.57 in May.
And that increase reflected a slightly longer workweek. Average hourly earnings for hourly employees actually edged down from $22.85 to $22.77 between April and May.
In other words, all of today’s reported gains in average weekly earnings resulted from Canadians working longer hours and higher salaries for salaried employees, rather than better wages.
Erin Weir is an economist with the United Steelworkers union and a CCPA research associate.