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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, January 2017

Released: 2017-03-31

Average weekly earnings — Canada


January 2017

1.8% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.L.


January 2017

1.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — P.E.I.


January 2017

2.6% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.S.


January 2017

1.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.B.


January 2017

3.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Que.


January 2017

1.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Ont.


January 2017

2.2% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Man.


January 2017

2.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Sask.


January 2017

2.4% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Alta.


January 2017

-0.5% decrease

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — B.C.


January 2017

2.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Y.T.


January 2017

2.8% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.W.T.


January 2017

-1.3% decrease

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Nvt.


January 2017

4.6% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $967 in January, little changed from December and up 1.8% from January 2016.

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

In general, changes in weekly earnings reflect a number of factors, including wage growth; changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience; and average hours worked per week.

Non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.7 hours per week in January, down from 32.8 hours in both the previous month and 12 months earlier.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings rose in 4 of the 10 largest industrial sectors. Earnings increased in manufacturing, educational services, health care and social assistance, as well as wholesale trade. At the same time, earnings declined in accommodation and food services, while there was little change in the remaining large sectors.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, January 2017
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, January 2017

Average weekly earnings in manufacturing rose 4.7% to $1,115. Growth was driven by increases in several manufacturing subsectors (food, wood products, and petroleum and coal products) and was widespread across the provinces, most notably in Ontario and Quebec. Part of the increase was also due to earnings in manufacturing being at a relatively low point in January 2016.

Average weekly earnings in educational services grew 3.3% to $1,037. The most notable growth was in universities, which had gains in both employment and earnings. Earnings in educational services have been on an upward trend since March 2016.

Average weekly earnings in health care and social assistance rose 3.1% to $883. Increases in earnings were widespread throughout the sector, with the largest in nursing and residential care facilities.

Average weekly earnings in wholesale trade were up 3.0% to $1,173, with the largest increases among merchant wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies as well as building material and supplies.

On the other hand, earnings in accommodation and food services fell 2.0% to $369. At the same time, the number of employees increased, but average weekly hours decreased. The most notable decline in earnings was in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places, which is among the lowest-earning industries.

Average weekly earnings by province

Compared with January 2016, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose in 9 of the 10 provinces, led by New Brunswick. There was little change in Alberta.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings by province, January 2017
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings by province, January 2017

Average weekly earnings in New Brunswick increased 3.0% to $889. Gains were most notable in health care and social assistance as well as manufacturing.

In British Columbia, average weekly earnings grew by 2.7% to $931. There were increases in several industries, led by administrative and support services and educational services.

Average weekly earnings in Prince Edward Island were up 2.6% to $828, particularly in finance and insurance, as well as health care and social assistance.

Average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan rose 2.4% to $1,008. Increases in earnings were spread across several sectors, driven by health care and social assistance as well as educational services.

In Manitoba, average weekly earnings were up 2.3% to $898, with notable gains in finance and insurance, as well as construction.

Average weekly earnings in Ontario rose 2.2% to $986, with manufacturing, finance and insurance, as well as health care and social assistance contributing the most to the increase.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings were little changed. While there were increases in health care and social assistance as well as educational services, earnings in natural resources, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services held steady. This follows large year-over-year declines since early 2015. As a result, the downward trend that began in 2015 has lessened in the second half of 2016.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

The total number of non-farm payroll employees in January was little changed from the previous month. However, there were increases in several sectors, notably in manufacturing, accommodation and food services, and public administration. At the same time, there were fewer payroll employees working in educational services and construction.

Compared with January 2016, the number of non-farm payroll employees was up 246,600 (+1.6%). The largest increases were in health care and social assistance (+49,100 or +2.7%), accommodation and food services (+36,800 or +2.9%) and retail trade (+30,500 or +1.6%).

Over the same period, there were declines in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-5,100 or -2.6%), although the downward trend that began in the fall of 2014 has lessened. Wholesale trade (-4,000 or -0.5%) also declined.

Recent labour-market developments

In the 12 months to January, the pace of employment growth has been similar in both of Statistics Canada's monthly surveys with data on employment: the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours and the Labour Force Survey.

During this same period, both surveys showed employment gains in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. For example, combined with employment gains, average weekly earnings rose 2.2% in Ontario, outpacing the national average (+1.8%). At the same time, the unemployment rate for the province declined 0.3 percentage points to 6.4%.

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

Evolution of data on employment, payrolls and hours

The origin of Canada's payroll employment survey dates back to 1918, when employment data were collected by the Department of Labour. In 1922, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics—now Statistics Canada—assumed responsibility for the collection and publication of the data. Initially, data collection was restricted to employers with 15 or more employees, and covered only certain industries. Earnings data were added in 1941.

From 1945 to 1970, separate earnings data were collected and published for hourly paid workers for whom records of hours were maintained. Beginning in 1971, earnings were published for all wage earners, including those for whom hours were not collected.

Data from the modern version of Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours were first published for the April 1983 reference period. Earnings and hours data were added for small business and non-commercial establishments (education, health and public administration).

Average weekly wages in 1939 were $23 ($391 based on 2016 dollars). In 2016, average weekly earnings were $956.

Source: Guide to the Survey of Employment Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G) and Historical Statistics of Canada (Catalogue number11-516-X).

  Note to readers

Today the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is releasing historically revised estimates. These estimates include seasonally adjusted data that have been revised based on the latest seasonal factors.

SEPH is produced by a combination of a census of approximately one million payroll deductions provided by the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Business Payrolls Survey, which collects data from a sample of 15,000 establishments. Federal, provincial and territorial public administration data are collected from various administrative records provided by these levels of government. The key objective of the 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), the unemployed, and those 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. To better understand the conceptual differences between employment measures from the LFS and SEPH, refer to section 8 of the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G).

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 for the "other employees" category, which includes piece-rate and commission-only employees.

Unless otherwise specified, 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 April 10. For more information, consult the document Real-time CANSIM tables.

Next release

Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for February will be released on April 27.


A summary table is also available.

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

More information about the concepts and use of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours and Job Vacancy Statistics is available in an updated issue of the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G).

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Dylan Saunders (613-762-6972; or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788;, Labour Statistics Division.

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