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  • 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) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

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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