Payroll employment, earnings and hours, May 2017
Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $972 in May, virtually unchanged from April but up 2.0% from 12 months earlier.
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 May, up from 32.6 hours the previous month but down from 32.8 hours in May 2016.
Average weekly earnings by sector
In the 12 months to May, average weekly earnings rose in 7 of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by professional, scientific and technical services. Earnings declined in retail trade and were little changed in manufacturing and construction.
Average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services rose 4.9% to $1,351. Earnings growth was driven by gains in computer systems design and related services; and architectural, engineering and related services. Gains were widespread across the provinces, most notably in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario. Part of the increase was also due to earnings in this sector being at a relatively low point in May 2016.
In administrative and support services, average weekly earnings grew 4.0% to $813, with growth spread across most industries. The largest increases were in British Columbia and Ontario.
Average weekly earnings in health care and social assistance were up 3.5% to $895, bolstered by earnings growth in general medical and surgical hospitals and nursing care facilities. Earnings were up in six provinces, led by Saskatchewan and Ontario.
In accommodation and food services, average weekly earnings increased 3.4% to $380. Earnings were boosted by gains in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places.
Average weekly earnings in public administration grew 3.3% to $1,259. Earnings growth in local, municipal and regional public administration contributed the most to the rise. Ontario and Manitoba had the largest increase in average weekly earnings among the provinces in this sector.
In wholesale trade, average weekly earnings were up 2.8% to $1,194, with the largest gains among wholesalers of building material and supplies as well as miscellaneous wholesalers. Most of the earnings growth in this sector occurred in the first quarter of 2017.
Average weekly earnings in educational services rose 2.8% to $1,043, driven by gains in elementary and secondary schools. Earnings in this sector were up most notably in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
On the other hand, average weekly earnings in retail trade fell 1.3% to $562, most notably in general merchandise stores. The largest decreases in this sector were in Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta.
Average weekly earnings by province
In the 12 months to May, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in eight provinces, led by Manitoba. Earnings were little changed in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Average weekly earnings in Manitoba rose 3.1% to $915. Earnings growth was driven by increases in finance and insurance; transportation and warehousing; and public administration. Most of the earnings growth occurred since October 2016.
In British Columbia, average weekly earnings were up 2.5% to $940, with notable increases in professional, scientific and technical services; administrative and support services; and manufacturing.
Average weekly earnings in Quebec rose 2.4% to $895, led by health care and social assistance; educational services; and professional, scientific and technical services.
In Nova Scotia, average weekly earnings grew 2.2% to $849, with the largest increases in educational services and construction. Part of the growth was also due to earnings in the province being at a relatively low point 12 months earlier.
Average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan increased 2.0% to $1,005, boosted by gains in health care and social assistance; educational services; and public administration.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, average weekly earnings grew 1.7% to $1,034, primarily driven by construction. At the same time, declines in earnings in manufacturing moderated the overall increase in the province.
Average weekly earnings in Alberta rose 1.7% to $1,120. While this was the first year-over-year increase in the province since the spring of 2015, it was mostly attributable to earnings being at a relatively low point in May 2016. The most notable gains were in professional, scientific and technical services; accommodation and food services; and transportation and warehousing.
In Ontario, average weekly earnings were up 1.6% to $987. The growth was mostly attributable to professional, scientific and technical services; public administration; as well as health care and social assistance.
Non-farm payroll employment by sector
The total number of non-farm payroll employees increased by 19,600 (+0.1%) from April. The number of payroll jobs grew the most in finance and insurance; and professional, scientific and technical services. At the same time, the number of payroll employees was down in construction, and arts, entertainment and recreation.
Compared with May 2016, the number of payroll employees rose by 249,200 (+1.6%). Increases were observed across the majority of the sectors, led by health care and social assistance (+34,800 or +1.9%); accommodation and food services (+29,300 or +2.3%); and professional, scientific and technical services (+29,000 or +3.4%).
Recent labour market developments
In the 12 months to May, 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 (SEPH) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
During this period, both surveys showed similar trends in employment in professional, scientific and technical services. The number of payroll employees in the SEPH grew 3.4% and has been on an upward trend since the end of the summer of 2016, while average weekly earnings were up 4.9%. At the same time, the LFS showed similar growth in total employment, which has been on an upward trend since the fall of 2016.
In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.
The evolution of employment in construction
Over the past century, employment in construction has represented less than 10% of paid workers in Canada, although this share has fluctuated over time.
In the early 20th century, increased industrialization and urbanization coincided with greater construction activity. With the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, construction activity declined, resulting in lower employment in this sector.
In the period following the Second World War, the country experienced the baby boom of 1946 to 1965, as well as a construction boom. This was driven by increased demand from a growing population for new homes, schools and hospitals, as well as public infrastructure and factories for consumer goods. There were a number of large construction projects which began during this time, including the Trans-Canada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Expo 67 in Montréal.
Throughout the 1960s and much of the 1970s, the share of employees working in construction hovered around 6%. As the country shifted from a goods-based to a service-based economy, and in conjunction with periods of economic downturns, the proportion of people employed in construction declined to around 4% throughout much of the 1990s.
Since the early 2000s, the proportion of employees in construction has increased slightly, following steady employment growth in the sector that began in the mid-1990s and continued for most of the first decade and a half of the 21st century. By 2016, there were over 970,000 employees in construction. This sector accounted for about 6% of all paid workers in 2016, a similar share to that observed in 1961.
Sources: Table D318-328 in Historical Statistics of Canada (), published in July 1999; "One hundred years of labour force" in Canadian Social Trends ( 11-516-X); and "Skilled Trades Employment," Perspectives on Income and Labour ( 11-008-X). 75-001-X
Note to readers
The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (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 (). 72-203-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
Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for June will be released on August 30.
A summary table is also available.
Job Vacancy Statistics (5202) from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours for April 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 the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (72-203-G).
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 Dylan Saunders (613-762-6972; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788; email@example.com), Labour Statistics Division.
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