Resource boom led Canadian wage growth to accelerate: census

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A booming resource sector led Canadian wage growth to accelerate between 2005 and 2015, government data showed on Wednesday, although while some provinces benefited from higher commodity prices others lost manufacturing jobs.

A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The median income of Canadians rose 10.8 percent between 2005 and 2015 to C$70,336 ($57,780), Statistics Canada said in a census report. That was up from 9.2 percent growth in the previous decade and a 1.8 percent decline in the decade before that.

Adjusted for inflation, wages rose 12.7 percent between 2005 and 2015. The census did not capture the full effect on wages from the recent drop in oil prices that put Canada in a brief recession in early 2015.

Wage growth in Canada has been muted more recently, as it has been in many other developed countries. That has puzzled economists and policymakers who had anticipated stronger earnings growth this far along in the recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis.

But there are signs wages could be heating up in Canada, with last week’s jobs report showing annual earnings growth picked up in August at its fastest pace in 10 months.

The census data showed the western prairie provinces, where Canada’s oil sands and other natural resources are located, had the highest growth in income over the course of the decade as more workers moved to the region.

Saskatchewan saw a 36.5 percent spike in income, while wages in Alberta climbed 24.0 percent.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, had the slowest growth in income at 3.8 percent as manufacturers shed jobs amid shifts in technology and a drive toward globalization.

Ontario’s manufacturing sector lost 318,000 jobs over the decade, a decline of 30 percent, the statistics agency said.

Nationally, there was little change in the number of low income households - those that make less than half of the median income. They edged up to 14.2 percent from 14.0 percent in 2005.

Low income households contained fewer children aged five and younger, but a higher proportion of seniors.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien