Payroll employment, earnings and hours, March 2016
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Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $960 in March, up 0.5% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings increased 0.7%.
The increase 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 32.9 hours per week in March, little changed from the previous month, and down compared with the average of 33.0 hours in the same month a year earlier.
Average weekly earnings by sector
In the 12 months to March, average weekly earnings increased in 4 of the 10 largest industrial sectors: administrative and support services, retail trade, manufacturing, and public administration. Over the same period, earnings declined in wholesale trade.
Compared with March 2015, weekly earnings in administrative and support services increased 4.1% to $797. Earnings growth in the sector was led by gains in employment services and services to buildings and dwellings.
Earnings in retail trade increased 2.8% to $563 in the 12 months to March. Gains were spread across most subsectors, led by clothing and clothing accessories stores. At the same time, average weekly earnings declined for employees at miscellaneous store retailers and gasoline stations.
Average weekly earnings in manufacturing rose 1.4% to $1,091 compared with March 2015. Manufacturing of fabricated metal products and plastics and rubber products contributed the most to the year-over-year increase in this sector. At the same time, earnings declined notably in transportation equipment manufacturing and primary metal manufacturing.
Average weekly earnings in public administration increased 1.2% to $1,247, largely because of gains in provincial and territorial public administration.
On the other hand, average weekly earnings in wholesale trade declined 3.1% to $1,163 in the 12 months to March. The declines were driven primarily by decreases in the machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers subsector.
Average weekly earnings by province
Year over year, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in seven provinces in March, led by Quebec and Nova Scotia. Over the same period, earnings declined in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, and were little changed in Saskatchewan.
In Quebec, earnings rose 3.6% to $892. Earnings growth was spread across many sectors, especially educational services, retail trade, manufacturing, and information and cultural industries.
Earnings in Nova Scotia increased 3.5% to $856 in March. Average weekly earnings were up in the majority of sectors, notably in administration and support services, educational services, and retail trade.
Compared with March 2015, average weekly earnings in Prince Edward Island were up 3.2% to $815. Earnings growth was led by retail trade and health care and social assistance.
Average weekly earnings in Manitoba increased 3.0% to $892. Gains were spread across most sectors, led by construction.
In the 12 months to March, average weekly earnings in Alberta declined 2.2% to $1,129. Declines were spread across the majority of sectors, particularly in construction and wholesale trade. Earnings in the province have been on a downward trend since January 2015.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, earnings declined 1.4% to $1,008. Average weekly earnings declined notably in educational services, accommodation and food services, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, and health care and social assistance.
Non-farm payroll employment by sector
The number of non-farm payroll jobs increased by 25,300 (+0.2%) in March, following no change in February. The largest gains were in health care and social assistance. On the other hand, in March, there were notable losses in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, as well as in real estate and rental and leasing.
Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of non-farm payroll employees increased by 140,700 or 0.9%. Payroll jobs increased the most in health care and social assistance (+54,800 or +3.0%); accommodation and food services (+28,500 or +2.3%); arts, entertainment and recreation (+21,800 or +8.4%); and retail trade (+21,200 or +1.1%).
Over the same period, there were fewer payroll jobs in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (-28,900 or -13.1%), manufacturing (-22,300 or -1.5%) and in the "other services" sector (-14,100 or -2.6%).
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. 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.
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 June 9. For more information, consult the document, Real-time CANSIM tables.
Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours for April will be released on June 30.
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 (survey number 5202) from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours for February are now available in CANSIM. For more information about Job Vacancy Statistics concepts, see the Guide to Job Vacancy Statistics (72-210-G).
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 (72-203-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.
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 Jeremy Weeks (613-951-1369; firstname.lastname@example.org), Labour Statistics Division.
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