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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, February 2015

Released: 2015-04-30

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $951 in February, little changed from $948 the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, weekly earnings increased by 2.7%.

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 2.7% increase in weekly earnings compared with February 2014 reflected a number of factors, including wage growth, changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation, level of job experience as well as average hours worked per week. Non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.9 hours in February, unchanged from the previous month, but down from the weekly average of 33.0 hours observed 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, as well as health care and social assistance. At the same time, earnings declined in retail trade and were little changed in construction as well as accommodation and food services.

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

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

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings in wholesale trade increased 8.5% to $1,193, with gains spread across most industries. Earnings in the sector have been on a strong upward trend since September. Growth in machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers, which is the largest subsector in wholesale trade, contributed the most to the rise in average weekly earnings on a year-over-year basis.

Average weekly earnings in manufacturing were up 3.2% to $1,060 in the 12 months to February. Gains were widespread, led by non-metallic mineral product manufacturing, as well as computer and electronic product manufacturing. Growth in the transportation equipment manufacturing subsector also contributed to the increase.

Compared with the same month a year earlier, average weekly earnings in health care and social assistance rose 2.8% to $878, with gains spread across most industries. Earnings for this industry have been on an upward trend since November.

In retail trade, average weekly earnings fell 1.2% to $530, on a year-over-year basis. The declines were widespread, most notably in clothing and clothing accessories stores as well as general merchandise stores. Earnings in retail trade have been trending downward since October.

Among the smaller industrial sectors, year-over-year earnings growth was highest in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+9.0% to $2,131) as well as finance and insurance (+7.0% to $1,230).

Average weekly earnings by province

Year over year, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in every province in February. The highest earnings growth was in Newfoundland and Labrador, while Nova Scotia had the lowest.

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

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

In the 12 months to February, average weekly earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador increased 4.2% to $1,019. Earnings growth was spread across most sectors, led by gains in finance and insurance as well as manufacturing.

Average weekly earnings in New Brunswick increased 3.6% to $850 compared with 12 months earlier, with widespread gains led by educational services.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings rose 3.3% to $1,167 on a year-over-year basis, with the largest increases in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, as well as wholesale trade.

Nova Scotia had the lowest earnings growth of the provinces, increasing 1.9% to $832 compared with February 2014.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

The number of non-farm payroll jobs was little changed in February (+4,500), following an increase of 45,100 in January. Nevertheless, in February there were employment gains in manufacturing, health care and social assistance, as well as information and cultural industries. At the same time, there were fewer payroll jobs in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; administrative and support services; as well as public administration.

In the 12 months to February, non-farm payroll employment increased by 212,000 or 1.4%.

From February 2014 to February 2015, employment growth was highest in real estate and rental and leasing (+5.4%); professional, scientific and technical services (+3.1%); as well as accommodation and food services (+2.3%). At the same time, employment decreased notably in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-2.2%), with most of the decline since October.


  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. 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 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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