Canadians take home more bacon

Canadians have been bringing home more money each week than they did during the down­turn, when jobs and workers’ hours were slashed, but economists warn a return to recession in the U.S. could derail rising incomes.

Canadians have been bringing home more money each week than they did during the down­turn, when jobs and workers’ hours were slashed, but economists warn a return to recession in the U.S. could derail rising incomes.

Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the average weekly earnings of employees rose by four per cent in June from a year earlier to $853.50. That’s the largest year-over-year increase since February 2008 and the seventh straight month in which the year-over-year increase was at or above 2.3 per cent.

But much of the weekly earnings increases can be attributed to employees on hourly wages working more hours as employers boost output, said Andrew Jackson, chief economist at the Canadian Labour Congress. Total hours worked by hourly and salaried employees increased by 0.1 per cent in June, the fifth advance in six months.

Average weekly hours worked by hourly and salaried employees amounted 32.9 hours in June, unchanged from May.

During the recovery, wages have increased by about two per cent — just in line with the pace of inflation, Jackson said.

Weekly earnings will grow by 3.4 per cent this year and 4.2 per cent in 2011, Desjardins Group predicted in a report.