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  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Falling Real Wages Signal Trouble Ahead

The Labour Force Survey for August showed that average hourly wages were up by just 1.4% from a year earlier, the same low level of increase as was registered in July.  Consumer price inflation was 2.7% in July, a bit down from 3.1% in June and 3.7% in May, but it seems that we have entered a period of falling real wages.

The picture is not much brighter if one looks at average weekly earnings, a function of hours worked and hourly wages. Average weekly wages in both July and August were up just 1.7% from a year earlier.

If this trend continues, it is likely to further undermine a weak recovery, negatively impacting upon consumer spending and perhaps serving as  the tipping point to deflation of the housing bubble.

An analysis by the National Bank of Canada suggests that the downward trend in average hourly wages in July can be traced to lower wages in manufacturing, and to a shift in jobs to lower wage industries.

The LFS data are not the the first to pick up a shift to a significant decline in real wages. Union wage settlements averaged 2.0% in the second quarter of this year, and just 1.3% in the first quarter. (In both quarters public settlements were lower than private settlements.)

The Labour Force Survey data precede most other economic indicators. Falling real wages and flat employment growth in the first two months of the third quarter following a negative second quarter  can only raise fears of Canada entering a recession

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