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Wage Growth Continues to Fall

Nov 02, 2018

The Conference Board of Canada’s Economist, Cory Renner offers the following insights on the October Labour Force Survey data release by Statistics Canada.


The most recent Labour Force Survey continues the worrying trend of diminishing wage growth. Wage growth has fallen precipitously—from 3.9 per cent year-over-year in May to 2.2 per cent in October—challenging households who are dealing with higher interest rates and rising inflation. There was good news, however, as solid employment gains were led by full-time jobs.
—Cory Renner, Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • Employment rose 11,200 in October, led by full-time jobs (+33,900). Meanwhile, part-time jobs declined for the month (-22,600).
  • The rise in employment is modest when compared to last month’s increase of 63,300. However, the increase in full-time positions is a positive development after the decline in September.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent as labour force participation rates fell.
  • The labour force participation rate fell to 65.2 per cent, the lowest in two decades.
  • Employment gains were fairly even among provinces, although Quebec (+9,100) and Saskatchewan (+2,500) had the strongest performances.
  • Year-over-year gains in the average hourly wage fell again, from 2.4 per cent in September to 2.2 per cent in October.
  • The continued collapse in wages is troubling. Year-over-year wage growth reached a high of 3.9 per cent in May, but has been on a downward trend since then. Part of the decline is simply a result of its unsustainable growth mid-way through the year, though it’s troubling as growth has fallen as low as 2.2 per cent.
  • Wage growth was better in services (+2.3 per cent) than goods (+1.7 per cent).

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