Comparing economic expansions
Over at Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, Stephen Gordon has assembled an interesting comparison of the current expansion vis-a-vis the previous two (roughly, the 1980s and the 1990s), benchmarking performance on a number of key indicators. One of his conclusions is rather unusual: he finds strong real wage growth over the past four years. This is contrary to the numbers I have seen (it is not clear what SG’s source is). According to LFS data from Statscan, average weekly wages in constant dollars grew by -0.8% in 2003, 0.7% in 2004, 1.3% in 2005 and 1.4% in 2006. Early year-over-year figures for 1Q 2007 are all (well) under 1%. Andrew Jackson discusses the issues around these weak numbers in an earlier post.