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Earnings in the last decade
Between 1997 and 2007, average real earnings in the private sector rose a solid 15% in Alberta, compared with 5% to 6% in Quebec and Ontario and 3% in British Columbia. In Ontario and Quebec, average real earnings in manufacturing did not fall despite sharp employment decreases since 2004.
Between 1997 and 2007, the percentage of jobs paying less than $10.00 per hour (in 2002 dollars) fell markedly in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia. In manufacturing, the proportion of low-paying jobs dropped in all regions except Ontario and British Columbia.
Of all private-sector employees, managers saw the greatest improvement in their pay rates since the late 1990s. Their average earnings grew 20% between 1997/1998 and 2006/2007, four times the rate observed for other private-sector employees. In contrast, blue-collar workers in manufacturing, clerical employees, and salespersons in retail trade (three groups that, collectively, accounted for 26% of private-sector employment in 2006/2007) saw virtually no wage growth.
The sharp growth for managers had a substantial impact on the upper end of the earnings distribution. Between 1997/1998 and 2006/2007, average hourly earnings grew 12% for the top 5% of private-sector employees, compared with 4% for their counterparts in the middle of the distribution. The more rapid increase for managers accounted for at least one-third of this 8 percentage-point difference.
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