Payroll employment, earnings and hours, December 2017
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Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $993 in December, little changed from the previous month. Compared with December 2016, earnings rose 2.3%, with all of the increase occurring in the second half of 2017.
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 33.0 hours per week in December, unchanged from the previous month and up from 32.8 hours in December 2016. Following a low point in February, average weekly hours have trended upward throughout most of 2017.
The overall growth in average weekly hours was driven by hourly paid employees. Average weekly hours for this group, which account for about 60% of non-farm payroll employment, increased from 29.9 hours in April to 30.3 hours in December.
Average weekly earnings by sector
Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings increased in 5 of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by wholesale trade and accommodation and food services. At the same time, earnings declined in administrative and support services and were little changed in professional, scientific and technical services; construction; educational services; and manufacturing.
In wholesale trade, average weekly earnings rose 6.7% to $1,217. Following a relatively low point in December 2016, earnings in this sector have been trending upward throughout most of 2017. Wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies accounted for the bulk of the year-over-year increase. Ontario, Quebec and Alberta contributed the most to the earnings growth in this sector.
Among employees in accommodation and food services, average weekly earnings increased 5.9% to $394, driven by gains in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places, as well as traveller accommodation. Earnings in this sector have been on an upward trend since March. Provincially, Ontario and British Columbia contributed the most to the rise.
In health care and social assistance, earnings grew 3.9% to an average of $910 per week. Gains were spread across most subsectors, with ambulatory health care services and hospitals contributing the most to the increase. The earnings gains in the sector were largely the result of increases in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
For retail trade employees, average weekly earnings rose 3.8% to $586, with most of the growth occurring from September to December. Increases were spread across the majority of the subsectors. Ontario and British Columbia contributed the most to the increase.
In public administration, earnings were up 2.6% to an average of $1,278 per week, driven by gains in local, municipal and regional public administration; as well as in provincial and territorial public administration. Ontario accounted for the majority of the year-over-year growth.
In contrast, average weekly earnings in administrative and support services fell 3.0% to $799, down from a relatively high point in December 2016. The year-over-year decline was driven by employment services, and investigation and security services. Among the provinces, Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia had the largest decreases in this sector.
Average weekly earnings by province
In the 12 months to December, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in eight provinces, led by Quebec. Over the same period, earnings were little changed in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Nova Scotia.
In Quebec, average weekly earnings rose 3.9% to $922, with the majority of the gains occurring in the second half of 2017. Growth was spread across many sectors, and the largest contributors were health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; utilities; and wholesale trade.
For payroll employees in Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were up 2.7% to $1,034. Gains were spread across a number of sectors, led by construction, retail trade and accommodation and food services. A notable increase in the number of employees in the high-paying mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector also contributed to the rise.
Earnings in British Columbia grew 2.7% to an average of $957 per week. Earnings increased in many sectors, and the largest contributors were health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and retail trade.
Average weekly earnings in Manitoba increased 2.6% to $921, with construction as well as health care and social assistance contributing the most to the rise.
Earnings in Prince Edward Island rose 1.8% to an average of $848 per week. The largest contributors were educational services and construction.
In Ontario, average weekly earnings were up 1.7% to $1,010, with wholesale trade; professional, scientific and technical services; and public administration contributing the most to the increase. Earnings in the province have been on an upward trend since August.
Average weekly earnings in New Brunswick grew 1.6% to $898, with notable gains in real estate and rental and leasing, administrative and support services, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade.
Among payroll employees in Alberta, average weekly earnings were up 1.2% to $1,149, with health care and social assistance, and wholesale trade making the largest contributions to the rise. Earnings in the province have been trending upward since the summer.
Non-farm payroll employment by sector
In December, the number of non-farm payroll employees increased by 31,600 (+0.2%) from November. The number of payroll jobs increased in several sectors, most notably in educational services; health care and social assistance; and professional, scientific and technical services. At the same time, payroll employment declined sharply in retail trade and in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.
The employment increase in educational services in December was mostly attributable to community colleges and CEGEPs, following a decline in November which coincided with the college faculty strike in Ontario.
Compared with December 2016, the number of payroll employees rose by 317,100 (+2.0%), with most of the increase occurring during the second and the third quarters of 2017. Most sectors reported gains, led by health care and social assistance (+42,100 or +2.2%) and educational services (+37,300 or +3.0%). Similar overall employment gains were recorded in the Labour Force Survey (+2.3%).
On a year-over-year basis, the number of payroll jobs also increased notably in manufacturing (+32,700 or +2.2%), accommodation and food services (+27,000 or +2.1%), and professional, scientific and technical services (+26,400 or +3.0%).
Sustainable Development Goals
On 1 January 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.
The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goals:
Note to readers
With the March 28 release of January 2018 data, the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) will start using the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2.0 instead of NAICS 2012. Data will be revised historically back to 2001. At the same time, seasonally adjusted data will be revised based on the latest seasonal factors. Historical revisions will also be made to a small number of industries by province or territory.
The 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 the 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 January will be released on March 28.
A summary table is also available.
Job Vacancy Statistics (5202) from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours for November 2017 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 Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Client Services (toll-free: 1-866-873-8788; email@example.com), Labour Statistics Division.