Lower wage earners were hit harder by the pandemic than those making $30 or more an hour, says an analysis from ATB Financial.
The number of jobs paying less than $12 an hour dropped sharply in spring 2020 and was down 33.5 per cent (88,600 jobs) across Canada in January, says ATB in its The Owl report on the Alberta economy.
The workforce for those making from $12 to $19 per hour plummeted by one-third in April 2020 and was still down nearly 20 per cent last month.
It is a different story for those making $30 an hour or more. The number of jobs dipped slightly in spring 2020 but were up by 9.5 per cent last month.
“There were, in fact, over half a million more jobs at the upper end of the pay scale in January 2021 than before the pandemic began,” says the ATB report.
The difference is clearly a reflection of the health measures that forced restaurants and other service-related businesses to close or lay off staff.
Those in higher wage brackets, many of whom could work from home, were less affected.
Based on that evidence Economists believe that a “K-shaped recovery” is likely following the pandemic.
Higher wage earners, who were not as adversely affected by the pandemic, may be motivated to “let loose” and increase their spending.
Those in lower wage brackets will at best return to their less lucrative jobs.
“So, while the post-pandemic period may feel like the ‘Roaring 20s’ to some, it will be hard going for many other Canadians.”