The Manitoba wage differential : its trend from 1943 to 1965

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Fric, Lawrence
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The main purpose of this study is to determine the direction and magnitude of the trend, if any, in the level of wages paid to members of the labour force in Manitoba relative to the wage levels elsewhere in Canada. No attempt is made to identify causal factors. However, the influence of agricultural wage levels on the total regional wage structure is briefly considered. Following a review of some similar wage studies, a research method is formulated. An attempt is then made to analyze the available data. On the basis of the method used and the admittedly highly qualified and limited data for fifty-two selected occupational titles within twenty selected industries, the evidence suggests the following: 1. At present, Manitoba's wage level is slightly above that of Canada as a whole and approximately ten per cent below that of British Columbia. 2. The relationship between regional wage structures is essentially stable with the Manitoba wage level showing an adverse relative trend of approximately one-third of one percent per year. 3. Geographic wage differentials are strongly influenced by the industrial mix of a region. Indeed, it may be accurate to speak of a geographic differential only in terms of individual industries. 4. Manitoba's wage level does not appear to be strongly influenced by wage trends in the province's agricultural industry. Finally, some policy implications of the results are considered. Implied is a need for a national policy for regional economic growth. Failing such a policy, and if a widening geographic differential is considered bad, then, a reversal of the present trend in the Manitoba wage level is necessary. A program to achieve such a result is suggested. It requires the provincial government to intervene in the labour market using whatever means are at its disposal short of wage controls and direct legislation.