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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, December 2014

Released: 2015-02-26

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $943 in December, up 0.7% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, weekly earnings increased by 2.0%.

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 2.0% increase in weekly earnings, compared with December 2013, 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 in December, unchanged from the previous month and down from 33.0 hours in December 2013.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average in 5 of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by professional, scientific and technical services as well as accommodation and food services. Over this period, average weekly earnings were little changed in construction, retail trade, health care and social assistance, manufacturing as well as administrative and support services.

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

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

On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services increased 5.0% to $1,352 in December. Earnings growth was spread across most industries in this sector. The largest increase over the period was in architectural, engineering and related services, followed by accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. At the same time, earnings declined notably in scientific research and development services.

Average weekly earnings in accommodation and food services were up 4.2% to $378. Earnings increased for traveller accommodation as well as full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places.

Year over year, earnings increased 2.9% in public administration to $1,203 in December, with most of the growth in the first quarter of the year. Earnings growth was led by local, municipal and regional public administration, as well as provincial and territorial public administration.

Compared with a recent low in December 2013, average weekly earnings in educational services increased 2.7% to $987.

Compared with a year earlier, earnings in wholesale trade increased 2.2% to $1,166, led by growth among merchant wholesalers of personal and household goods, as well as machinery, equipment and supplies. At the same time, earnings declined for merchant wholesalers of motor vehicle and parts and accessories, as well as building material supplies.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year-over-year average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in every province in December. Growth was highest in Newfoundland and Labrador, while Ontario and Manitoba had the lowest earnings growth.

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

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

Average weekly earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador were $1,011 in December, up 4.4% from 12 months earlier. Growth was spread across most sectors in the province, led by transportation and warehousing, accommodation and food services as well as construction. At the same time, earnings declined notably in educational services, and health care and social assistance.

On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan increased 3.5% to $996. Earnings growth was led by information and cultural industries, construction and public administration. At the same time, earnings declined in manufacturing and retail trade.

Compared with December 2013, average weekly earnings in New Brunswick were up 3.5% to $847. Year-over-year earnings growth was led by manufacturing and health care and social assistance, while earnings declined in finance and insurance as well as in transportation and warehousing.

For non-farm payroll employees in Prince Edward Island, average weekly earnings increased 3.5% to $792 on a year-over-year basis. Earnings growth was highest in information and cultural industries, finance and insurance as well as public administration.

Compared with a year earlier, average weekly earnings in Ontario increased 1.6% to $944 in December. Year-over-year earnings growth in Ontario has been below the national average since August 2013.

In Manitoba, earnings increased 1.5% to $880 compared with December 2013. Earnings growth has leveled off in recent months following steady gains in the first half of 2014.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

The number of non-farm payroll jobs increased by 21,800 in December, offsetting the decline of 18,400 in November. In December, health care and social assistance recorded the largest gains in payroll employment, while professional scientific and technical services had the largest decline.

In the 12 months to December, non-farm payroll employment increased by 154,300 or 1.0%, with the majority of payroll jobs gained between April and October.

From December 2013 to December 2014, employment growth was highest in real estate and rental and leasing (+4.5%); construction (+3.1%); mining, and quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+3.1%); and professional, scientific and technical services (+2.6%). At the same time, the sectors with the largest employment declines were information and cultural industries (-2.9%), utilities (-2.0%) and public administration (-1.1%).


  Note to readers

With the March 31 release of January 2015 data, the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) will be releasing historically revised estimates. These estimates will include seasonally adjusted data that have been revised based on the latest seasonal factors. Historical revisions will also be made to a number of industries by province and territory, going back to 2001. These revisions will be concentrated in the public sector portion of the economy, particularly public administration.

Note to readers

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. The key objective of SEPH 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 facilitate comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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 Summary table is available from the Browse by key resource module of our website. Under Summary tables, choose Subject then Labour.

Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for January will be released on March 31.

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 Jeremy Weeks (613-951-1369; jeremy.weeks@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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