Payroll employment, earnings and hours, April 2012 (preliminary data)
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In April, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $896.63, up 1.0% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased by 3.1%.
Year-over-year change in average weekly hours and average weekly earnings
The 3.1% increase in earnings during the 12 months to April reflects a number of factors, including wage growth and changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience.
Average hours worked per week also contributed to the increase in earnings. In April, non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 33.0 hours per week, up from 32.9 in March. Compared to one year earlier, hours worked also increased from 32.9 hours. This increase follows five consecutive months of year-over-year declines.
Average weekly earnings by sector
Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average of 3.1% in three of Canada's largest industrial sectors: wholesale trade, construction and retail trade. In contrast, earnings growth in health care and social assistance declined.
Year-over-year change in average weekly earnings in the 10 largest sectors, April 2011 to April 2012
Average weekly earnings in wholesale trade increased 8.5% to $1,096.42. Growth occurred in most industries in this sector, most notably among wholesaler-distributors of personal and household goods and in machinery, equipment and supplies.
In construction, weekly earnings increased 6.9% to $1,141.62 in the 12 months to April. Growth was widespread across all industries in this sector, and particularly strong among employees in building construction.
In retail trade, one of the lowest-paid sectors on average, weekly earnings rose 4.4% to $531.00. There were notable gains among retail stores for clothing and clothing accessories; electronics and appliances; and general merchandise.
Weekly earnings of payroll employees in health care and social assistance fell 1.2% to $815.93. Earnings declined in nursing and residential care facilities; ambulatory services and social assistance.
Average weekly earnings up in every province
Average weekly earnings increased in every province in the 12 months to April, with the highest growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings by province, April 2011 to April 2012
In Newfoundland and Labrador, average weekly earnings increased 6.5% to $931.77, the second highest wage level among the provinces after Alberta. Year-over-year earnings growth in Newfoundland and Labrador has been above the national average since December 2010.
In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were $912.78 in April, up 4.0% from 12 months earlier. Earnings in the province have exceeded the national average since August 2011.
In Alberta, average weekly earnings in the 12 months to April grew 3.5% to $1,066.83, the highest level in the country. In Quebec, earnings rose 3.3% to $818.43.
The lowest year-over-year growth was in Manitoba and Ontario, where earnings increased by 2.1% in each province. In April, average weekly earnings in Manitoba amounted to $825.95, and in Ontario, $910.23.
Non-farm payroll employment by sector
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 13,500 in April. Most sectors showed gains, with the largest in accommodation and food services; professional, scientific and technical services; and retail trade. The most notable job decline was in manufacturing.
From April 2011 to April 2012, the total number of non-farm payroll employees rose 1.4% (+208,000). Among all sectors, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction posted the highest growth rate at 4.4%, followed by construction at 4.0%.
Note to readers
The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is a business census of non-farm payroll employees. Its key objective is to provide a monthly portrait of the level of earnings, the number of jobs and hours worked by detailed industry at the national, provincial and territorial level.
Statistics Canada also produces employment estimates from its monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is a 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 facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.
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.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2612.
A data table is available from the Key resource module of our website under Summary tables.
Detailed industry data, data by size of enterprise based on employment, and other labour market indicators will soon be available in the monthly publication Employment, Earnings and Hours, Vol. 90, no. 4 (Catalogue number72-002-X, free).
Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for May will be released on July 26.
For more information, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; email@example.com).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jeannine Usalcas (613-951-4720; firstname.lastname@example.org), Labour Statistics Division.
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