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Tight labour market pushing up wages

The tight labour market is putting upward pressure on wages, with the Labour Force Survey showing a strong 1.0% m/m rise in average hourly earnings in May. While the annual rate of wage growth, at 3.9% y/y, remained lower than before the pandemic, base effects mean it is likely to accelerate to closer to 6% over the second half of 2022. All this adds to the pressure for the Bank of Canada to rapidly tighten policy, particularly as the current weak rate of productivity growth suggests that there is minimal scope for businesses to absorb higher wage costs. We expect the Bank to raise its policy rate by 75 bp in July and follow that with a further 50 bp hike in September and a 25 bp hike in October, to take the policy rate to 3.0%. By then, we think the weakness in the housing market and a sharp slowdown in employment growth will be enough to cause the Bank to pause its tightening cycle, and ultimately remain on the side lines as GDP growth slows below its long-run potential in 2023.
Stephen Brown Senior Canada Economist
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