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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, February 2014

Released: 2014-04-29

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $925 in February, little changed from $922 the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, weekly earnings increased 2.3%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings and average weekly hours - Description and data table
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings and average weekly hours

Chart 1: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings and average weekly hours - Description and data table

The 2.3% increase in weekly earnings during the 12 months to February reflected a number of factors, including wage growth, changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience as well as average hours worked per week. Non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.9 hours per week in February, unchanged from the previous month and little changed from the average of 32.8 hours observed 12 months earlier.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings exceeded the national average in 4 of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by construction. At the same time, earnings declined in educational services.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, February 2013 to February 2014 - Description and data table
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, February 2013 to February 2014

Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, February 2013 to February 2014 - Description and data table

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings in construction grew by 5.5% to $1,225 in February, with gains spread across most industries in this sector.

From a recent low of $355 in February 2013, weekly earnings in accommodation and food services were up by 4.1% to $369 in the 12 months to February 2014.

Average earnings in health care and social assistance increased by 4.0% to $858 per week, with gains spread across all industries in this sector.

In professional, scientific and technical services, average weekly earnings rose by 2.6% to $1,306 in February, with most of the gains occurring since the summer of 2013. The largest year-over-year increases were in "other professional, scientific and technical services;" legal services; as well as architectural, engineering and related services.

Earnings in educational services declined by 1.7% to $977 compared with 12 months earlier, notably in elementary and secondary schools as well as universities. Earnings in educational services have been trending downward since July 2013.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year-over-year earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in all provinces. The largest growth was in Manitoba and Nova Scotia, while there was little growth in Saskatchewan.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, February 2013 to February 2014 - Description and data table
Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, February 2013 to February 2014

Chart 3: Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, February 2013 to February 2014 - Description and data table

In the 12 months to February, average weekly earnings in Manitoba increased by 4.4% to $854, with growth spread across most sectors. The bulk of the gains have occurred since October 2013.

In Nova Scotia, weekly earnings rose by 4.2% to $822 compared with 12 months earlier. The largest gains were in accommodation and food services; information and cultural industries; and administrative and support services. Earnings in this province have been on a slight upward trend over this entire 12-month period.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

Total non-farm payroll employment fell by 11,900 in February, after edging down by 3,000 in January. There were fewer employees in educational services; retail trade; and professional, scientific and technical services. At the same time, there was more payroll employment in construction, as well as mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of non-farm payroll employees increased by 131,600 or 0.9% in February, with the bulk of the gains occurring in July and August.

Among all sectors, construction (+2.4%) and real estate and rental and leasing (+2.4%) posted the highest 12-month growth rate, followed by accommodation and food services (+2.3%) and transportation and warehousing (+2.3%). Over the same period, employment declined in utilities (-3.1%), information and cultural industries (-1.1%) as well as manufacturing (-1.0%).


  Note to readers

The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is produced by a combination of a census of payroll deductions, provided by the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Business Payrolls Survey, which collects data from a sample of 15,000 establishments. Its key objective is to provide a monthly portrait of the level of earnings, and the number of jobs and hours worked by detailed industry at the national, provincial and territorial level.

Estimates of average weekly earnings and hours worked are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level. Payroll employment estimates are based on a census of administrative data and are not subject to sampling variability.

Statistics Canada also produces employment estimates from its Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is a monthly household survey, the main objective of which is to divide the working-age population into three mutually exclusive groups: the employed (including the self-employed), unemployed and not in the labour force. This survey is the official source for the unemployment rate and collects data on the socio-demographic characteristics of all those in the labour market.

As a result of conceptual and methodological differences, estimates of changes from SEPH and LFS do differ from time to time. However, the trends in the data are quite similar.

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see "Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends."

Non-farm payroll employment data are for all hourly and salaried employees, as well as the "other employees" category, which includes piece-rate and commission-only employees.

Average weekly hours data are for hourly and salaried employees only and exclude businesses that could not be classified to a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.

All earnings data include overtime pay and exclude businesses that could not be classified to a NAICS code. Earnings data are based on gross taxable payroll before source deductions. Average weekly earnings are derived by dividing total weekly earnings by the number of employees.

With each release, data for the current reference month are subject to revision. Data have been revised for the previous month. Users are encouraged to request and use the most up-to-date data for each month.

A data table is available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Summary tables.

Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for March will be released on May 29.

More information about the concepts and use of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours is available online in The Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Andrew Fields (613-951-3551; andrew.fields@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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