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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, January 2015

Released: 2015-03-31

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $948 in January, edging up 0.4% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, weekly earnings increased by 3.0%.

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 3.0% increase in weekly earnings compared with January 2014 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 33.0 hours in January, unchanged from the previous month and little changed from the average of 32.9 hours a year earlier.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average in 3 of the 10 largest industrial sectors: wholesale trade, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, January 2015 - Description and data table
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, January 2015

Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, January 2015 - Description and data table

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings in wholesale trade rose 4.7% to $1,178. Earnings growth was spread across all industries in this sector. The largest gains were among miscellaneous wholesalers, motor vehicle and parts and accessories wholesalers, as well as machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers.

While weekly earnings in manufacturing were up 4.3% to $1,053 in January, earnings in this sector have hovered around this level since June 2014. The largest year-over-year gains were in machinery, fabricated metal products, and food manufacturing. At the same time, earnings declined notably in plastics and rubber products manufacturing.

Average weekly earnings in accommodation and food services rose 3.9% to $378, with gains in most industries.

In the 12 months to January, average weekly earnings were little changed in construction, educational services, as well as administrative and support services.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year-over-year average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in every province in January. The highest earnings growth was in Saskatchewan, while Quebec had the lowest.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, January 2015 - Description and data table
Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, January 2015

Chart 3: Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, January 2015 - Description and data table

In January, average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan were up 4.9% to $988, compared with a low of $941 in January 2014. Earnings growth was widespread in most sectors, with the largest gains in information and cultural industries as well as transportation and warehousing.

In Manitoba, weekly earnings grew 4.6% to $882 in January, reflecting an upward trend that began in November 2013. Growth was spread across most sectors in the province, led by transportation and warehousing, health care and social assistance as well as educational services.

In the 12 months to January, average weekly earnings in New Brunswick rose 4.6% to $848. Earnings growth was led by educational services, administrative and support services as well as manufacturing.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings rose 4.0% to $1,171 compared with 12 months earlier. Gains in this province were spread across most sectors.

Average weekly earnings in Nova Scotia increased 3.6% to $836, led by gains in transportation and warehousing, educational services, as well as health care and social assistance.

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings in Quebec increased 1.8% to $849 in January, with all the growth occurring in the first half of the period.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

The number of non-farm payroll jobs rose by 48,100 in January, following an increase of 21,500 in December. The largest gains in January were in health care and social assistance; construction; as well as professional, scientific and technical services. At the same time, there were fewer payroll jobs in retail trade; administrative and support services; and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

In the 12 months to January, non-farm payroll employment increased by 209,000 or 1.3%.

From January 2014 to January 2015, real estate and rental and leasing posted the highest employment growth rate at 4.9%. Employment in this sector has been trending upward since 2012. Compared with a year earlier, employment in construction grew 3.5%, with most of the growth occurring from May to October. In professional, scientific and technical services, year-over-year employment growth was 3.4%, with the bulk of the growth occurring from March to August. Employment in mining, and quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grew 2.8% in the 12 months to January, with all the increase taking place in the first half of the period.

Compared with January 2014, employment was virtually unchanged in retail trade and manufacturing, two of the largest industrial sectors. At the same time, employment declined in utilities (-1.6%), and information and cultural industries (-1.5%).


  Note to readers

With this release, the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) data series have been historically revised and the seasonally adjusted data have been revised based on the latest seasonal factors. The historical revisions were made to a number of industries by province and territory, going back to 2001, and were 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 February will be released on April 30.

An updated issue of the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G) is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

An updated issue of the Guide to Job Vacancy Statistics (Catalogue number72-210-G) is also now available.

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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