Wages: Measurement and Key Drivers

Available as: PDF

Available sources of hourly wage data in Canada sometimes send conflicting signals about wage growth. This note thus has two objectives: first, we develop a wage measure—the wage-common—to better capture the (underlying) wage pressures reflecting the common trend across the available data sources. Second, we re-examine the relationship between wage growth and macro drivers (labour market slack and labour productivity). We conclude that the wage-common is a superior estimate relative to individual sources because of its timeliness, its lower volatility and its good relationships with fundamentals. Our analysis indicates that labour market slack is the main factor still weighing on the wage-common growth in 2017Q3. Lastly, we investigate globalization (measured by wage growth in other advanced economies) as another potential factor behind the absence of wage pressures in Canada and find no evidence beyond what is already explained by the macro drivers.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.34989/san-2018-2