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Grande Prairie’s economic region among country’s highest for hourly wages

The economic region that Grande Prairie is part of has one of the highest hourly wages in the country. Statistics Canada says the average full-time hourly wage for the Banff–Jasper–Rocky Mountain House and Athabasca–Grande Prairie–Peace River region was $31.65 in 2017.

That’s the fifth highest in the country and the third highest in Alberta. Economic development officer for the City of Grande Prairie Rebecca Leigh says the results aren’t surprising.

“This is on trend with the numbers that we’re seeing from our side in terms of employment and attracting workforce to the area. We’re fortunate to be serving a number of higher income industries looking for that higher skilled labour.”

Because the economic region encompasses almost all of the western half of Alberta, some data surrounding it isn’t considered to be accurate for the City of Grande Prairie itself. Leigh explains that’s especially the case when it comes to the unemployment rate.

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“Tying Grande Prairie into places like Banff or Jasper that have totally different types of industries skews the unemployment numbers depending on the seasonality and a number of different factors that are maybe affecting those places and maybe not necessarily us.”

However, in this case, Leigh says the findings are likely fairly right due to the type of industry the city services.

“Over the last year, when this data is based on, Grande Prairie has accounted for five per cent of all of the jobs that have been posted in all of Alberta. That’s an interesting number for us just because we only represent two per cent of the population.”

She adds that Grande Prairie’s median household income is roughly 10 per cent higher than the provincial average, and almost 20 per cent higher than Edmonton’s. At the same time, last year’s Alberta Spatial Price Survey showed the cost of living in GP is only 3.7 per cent higher than the capital city.

Five of the top 10 economic regions in Canada with the highest average full-time hourly wage last year were in Alberta. The highest was Wood Buffalo–Cold Lake at $34.35.

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