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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, December 2015

Released: 2016-02-25

Average weekly earnings

$959.32

December 2015

1.7% 

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $959 in December, up 0.9% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings increased by 1.7%.

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

The change in weekly earnings reflects 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 33.2 hours per week in December, up from 32.9 hours in November and up from the December 2014 average of 33.0 hours.

Average weekly earnings by sector

From December 2014 to December 2015, average weekly earnings increased in 5 of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by administrative and support services, as well as manufacturing. At the same time, earnings declined in construction.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, December 2015
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, December 2015

In administrative and support services, weekly earnings grew 7.8% to $806. Gains were observed in most industries, led by business support services and employment services.

Among manufacturing employees, average weekly earnings increased 5.8% to $1,105 in the 12 months to December. The gains were spread across most subsectors, with the largest increases in the manufacturing of plastics and rubber products, fabricated metal products, and transportation equipment. At the same time, earnings declined notably in beverage and tobacco products manufacturing.

Compared with December 2014, average weekly earnings in retail trade rose 4.5% to $569. Growth was widespread, with notable earnings gains in building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, as well as motor vehicle and parts dealers.

Average weekly earnings in educational services increased 3.4% to $1,016, with most of the gains in community colleges and CEGEPs, as well as elementary and secondary schools.

In the 12 months to December, average weekly earnings in public administration increased 2.3% to $1,232, with most of the growth occurring in the first quarter of 2015. Gains in this sector were led by provincial and territorial public administration, as well as local, municipal and regional public administration.

On the other hand, earnings in construction were down 2.1% to $1,202 in the 12 months to December. The declines were mainly the result of fewer hours worked in this sector as well as employment losses in the high-paying utility system construction industry, primarily in Alberta.

Average weekly earnings were little changed in wholesale trade; professional, scientific and technical services; health care and social assistance; as well as accommodation and food services.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year over year, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in eight provinces in December, with the highest growth in Ontario. At the same time, earnings declined in Alberta and were little changed in Saskatchewan.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, December 2015
Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, December 2015

In Ontario, earnings rose 3.2% to $977. Earnings increased in many sectors, led by gains in administrative and support services, finance and insurance, as well as manufacturing.

In the 12 months to December, average weekly earnings in Prince Edward Island increased 3.0% to $814. Gains were widespread, with the highest growth in professional, scientific and technical services; information and cultural industries; as well as manufacturing.

Compared with December 2014, average weekly earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador were up 2.9% to $1,036. Earnings growth was led by educational services, manufacturing, as well as health care and social assistance.

Average weekly earnings in British Columbia rose 2.9% to $921. The increase was spread across many sectors, led by manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and health care and social assistance.

In New Brunswick, weekly earnings increased 2.6% to $869. Gains were spread across most sectors, with the highest growth in information and cultural industries, as well as administrative and support services.

Earnings in Alberta fell 1.0% to $1,147 in the 12 months to December, continuing a trend of year-over-year declines that began in the summer of 2015. Earnings in construction had the largest decline compared with December 2014. At the same time, employment losses in the high-earning mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector contributed notably to the decline in average earnings for the province.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

The number of non-farm payroll jobs increased by 36,100 in December, following an increase of 13,000 in November. The largest gains in December were in educational services; administrative and support services; as well as professional, scientific and technical services. At the same time, there were fewer payroll jobs in retail trade; manufacturing; information and cultural industries; as well as mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of non-farm payroll employees increased by 193,300 or 1.2%. Over this period, the number of payroll jobs increased the most in health care and social assistance (+50,700 or +2.8%), accommodation and food services (+36,900 or +3.0%), as well as educational services (+35,700 or +2.9%).

On the other hand, payroll employment declined notably in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-35,200 or -15.1%) in the 12 months to December, predominantly in support activities for mining, and oil and gas extraction (-30,300 or -28.8%). The number of jobs was also down in construction (-17,700 or -1.8%), with the largest decline in utility system construction (-12,200 or -15.2%).



  Note to readers

With the March 31 release of January 2016 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.

SEPH is produced by a combination of a census of approximately one million payroll deductions provided by the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as 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.

Real-time CANSIM tables

Real-time CANSIM tables 281-8023, 281-8026, 281-8047 and 281-8063 will be updated on March 10. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

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

Products

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

Job Vacancy Statistics (5202) from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours for November are now available in CANSIM.

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; emmanuelle.bourbeau@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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