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Railcars with containers move through the Canadian National railyards in Edmonton on Feb. 22, 2015.

Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters

The average wage for vacant jobs across Canada declined last year, with pay in resource-rich Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador dropping the most, according to new government data.

The average hourly pay offered for job vacancies in the country eased 3 per cent to $18.45 in the first nine months of 2015. In Saskatchewan, the average hourly wage dropped 9 per cent to $18.30 and in Newfoundland and Labrador earnings declined 10 per cent to $18.10.

In oil-centric Alberta, pay eased 5 per cent to $18.90. British Columbia, which has a healthier economy, saw average earnings fall 5 per cent to $17.65.

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Nationally, wages dropped in manufacturing, transportation, trades and sales. On the East Coast, hourly wages for managers and sales people declined. Likewise, in Saskatchewan, a province beset by weak oil and potash prices, hourly wages for managers fell by a third.

Alberta saw hourly wages drop in the finance and business sector as well as sales and government services.

Unsurprisingly, the data showed a steady decline in job vacancies in Alberta and Saskatchewan as the provinces continue to deal with the fallout from the oil slump.

Thousands of people have been laid off in the energy sector and beyond since crude prices plunged 70 per cent over the past year and a half.

Alberta's job vacancy rate fell to 3.1 per cent in the third quarter from 3.5 per cent in the first quarter. Saskatchewan's vacancy rate fell to 2.4 per cent from 3 per cent over the same period.

The Job Vacancy and Wage Survey is a new survey for Statistics Canada, with data that dates back only to the first quarter of 2015. It is released four months after the government's monthly labour force survey. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

January's report painted a bleak picture of Alberta's labour market. The Western province's jobless rate is now 7.4 per cent, higher than the national rate for the first time in nearly three decades.

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Editor's note: A previous version of this story suggested the average wage across Canada declined last year. In fact, it is the average hourly wage offered for job vacancies that businesses are looking to fill.

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