Workers Stand Still for A Decade

Yet another StatsCan study to confirm ever-increasing inequality over a period of falling unemployment  – this time measured in terms of changes in real hourly wages over the past decade, 1997-2007, based on Labour Force Survey data.

Earnings in the Last Decade by Rene Morissette. http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/75-001-XIE/2008102/pdf/10521-en.pdf 

Among the highlights:

Real Average hourly earnings (AHE) of private sector employees rose by a total of just 6.7% over the entire decade, and the average  includes private sector managers (AHE up 20.3%) Excluding private sector managers (8.1% of the private sector workforce),  real AHE in the private sector rose by just 4.6%,  and the median non managerial private sector worker (half make more and half make less) experienced a real wage gain of just 3.4% over the decade.

The real average hourly earnings of the highest paid 5% (essentially managers and higher paid private sector professionals) rose by 12%.   The main change in the distribution of hourly wages over the period was a shift within the upper half of workers to the very top.

Real AHE were essentially flat over the entire decade for lower and middle wage occupations – including clerical jobs (down 0.3%); non supervisory manufacturing occupations (up 0.6%); cashiers and retail salespersons (down 3.0%) and even the construction trades (up just 2.2% over the decade.)

Real AHE of public services workers (up just 4.4% over the decade) lagged  behind the private sector.
The average also conceals major regional differences with real AHE increasing by just 2.9% in BC, by 4.5% in Quebec and by 5.6% in Ontario over the decade, compared to 13.4% in Alberta.

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