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A driller extracts a drill core at an exploration site located north west of Kirkland Lake, Ont., in this file photo. Statscan says Canada’s employment picture was little changed in April.

© STRINGER Canada / Reuters

Wage growth slowed to a record low in April, due to white-collar pay cuts and continued fallout from the oil collapse.

Average hourly earnings increased 0.7 per cent over April of last year, with full-time earnings up only 0.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour survey released on Friday.

For the second consecutive month, Ontario shared the blame with Alberta for suppressing the country's average wage.

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Read more: Low-wage earners with graduate degrees on rise, new study shows

Across the spectrum of white-collar jobs in Ontario, there was a decline in earnings among managers and professionals in health, law and natural and applied sciences. Senior managers for example, were paid, on average, $53.54 an hour in April compared with $58.29 a year ago.

It is not just white-collar occupations, factory workers also experienced a pay cut. And other industries that were once responsible for boosting the province's hourly average saw flat wage growth. Those included education and finance.

"That is the most disconcerting part of the jobs report. It looks like Ontario is a driving force behind that," said Beata Caranci, chief economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank. "Across all industries, even ones that are seeing job growth … they are broadly seeing weakness in wages."

Since last November, earnings growth in the country's most populous province has remained below 1 per cent. Last month, the average hourly rate increased 0.23 per cent to $26.43 over April of the previous year.

The loss of high-paid oil patch jobs in Alberta had already altered the composition of the labour market in Canada. The average earnings for a natural-resources job in Alberta is more than double the national average, and far higher than wages in industries such as accommodation and food services.

It's not just Alberta's oil patch that has sustained job losses and pay cuts, huge swaths of the province's economy had depended on a robust energy sector.

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"The energy and broader natural-resources sector spreads its tentacles across so many different aspects of the Canadian economy," said Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics with Bank of Nova Scotia.

"It is not unreasonable to expect that when that sector went down, that it took the momentum away from a number of others in the process," he said.

Although Alberta's average hourly wage is still higher than the national average, it is declining. Compared with April a year ago, it fell 0.7 per cent to $29.88.

"This is the aftermath of the commodities shock," said Mr. Holt.

Friday's jobs report is generally less reliable than the government's Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, which relies on payroll data and is released two months later. The most recent survey, showed wage growth of around 2 per cent in February.

Over all, Canada created 3,200 jobs last month, which missed analyst expectations for 10,000 new positions. However, employment has been booming since last summer. Over the past year, the country has added 275,700 new jobs, of which two-thirds were full-time.

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"It suggests that there will not be a lot of income power from solid job growth because the wage gains are relatively modest," said Douglas Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal.

The unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent, though that was because thousands gave up looking for work.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected the jobless rate to remain at 6.7 per cent.

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