Payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies, June 2021
Payroll employment rose by 214,800 (+1.3%) in June, driven by increases in the services-producing sector in Ontario and Quebec. At the same time, average weekly earnings fell, as job gains were concentrated in lower-paying industries.
In June, public health measures implemented against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly eased. As a result, indoor and outdoor dining, recreation and cultural activities, retail shopping, and personal care services resumed or continued in most areas of the country, with varying degrees of capacity restrictions.
In Ontario, personal care services partially resumed at the end of the month; however, indoor dining and gyms remained closed.
Services-producing sector drives payroll employment increase in June with the easing of public health measures
There were 214,800 (+1.3%) more employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer in June—measured in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) as payroll employment—the strongest monthly growth since March 2021. The June Labour Force Survey (LFS) reported 230,700 (+1.2%) more people employed (including self-employed). The increases in both the SEPH and the LFS were driven by the services-producing sector, as the easing of public health measures allowed many businesses in accommodation and food services and in retail trade to reopen.
Payroll employment rose in six provinces in June. Ontario (+95,500; +1.6%) and Quebec (+79,200; +2.1%) accounted for most of the increase.
Compared with February 2020, payroll employment in Canada was down by 769,900 (-4.5%) in June.
Accommodation and food services and retail trade account for half of the June payroll employment increase
Just over half of the June payroll employment increase was in accommodation and food services (+77,400; +8.7%) and retail trade (+35,300; +1.9%), two sectors where employment has been most susceptible to changes in public health measures throughout the pandemic. Most of the June employment increase in these two sectors occurred in Ontario and Quebec, consistent with the loosening of public health measures in these provinces following the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly all of the gain in payroll employment in accommodation and food services occurred in the food services and drinking places subsector. In retail trade, payroll employment rose in 10 of the 12 subsectors, with the largest increases in clothing and clothing accessories stores and general merchandise stores.
In June, payroll employment was 28.2% below the pre-COVID-19 level in accommodation and food services, while it was 3.7% below in retail trade.
Payroll employment in professional, scientific and technical services continues upward trend
Payroll employment in professional, scientific and technical services has been on an upward trend since June 2020 and continued to rise in June 2021, increasing by 16,800 (+1.6%). This increase was spread across all industries, led by accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services (+5,300; +4.3%), and architectural, engineering and related services (+3,700; +1.8%). A large share (84%) of jobs in this sector can potentially be performed from home, according to a previous Statistics Canada analysis, limiting the impact of public health measures on employment in the sector. Most of the employment growth in the sector occurred in Ontario (+7,500; +1.7%) and Quebec (+4,400; +1.8%).
In June, payroll employment in professional, scientific and technical services was 5.8% above the February 2020 level. Employment in scientific research and development services was the furthest above its pre-pandemic level (+11.8%), followed by computer systems design and related services (+11.4%), while employment in advertising, public relations, and related services was the furthest below (-7.1%). Compared with February 2020, average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services were up 4.1% to $1,523.
Average weekly earnings decrease in June as job gains are concentrated in lower-paying industries
Average weekly earnings decreased 1.0% to $1,125 from May to June, partly because the employment gains were concentrated in lower-paying sectors. The largest employment gains in June were in the two sectors with the lowest average weekly earnings: accommodation and food services ($457 per week) and retail trade ($643 per week).
While average weekly earnings were down in June compared with May, they were 7.6% higher than in February 2020. This increase reflects a number of factors, including changes in the composition of employment by type of employee (hourly or salaried) and changes in the overall employment distribution by sector.
At the onset of the initial COVID-19 economic shutdown, job losses were largest in some of the lower-paying sectors. These sectors have also remained furthest from their pre-pandemic employment levels.
In June 2021, payroll employment in arts, entertainment and recreation, where average earnings were $729 per week, was 38.8% below its February 2020 level. In accommodation and food services ($457 per week), employment was 28.2% below its pre-COVID-19 level. In contrast, two of the sectors with the highest average weekly earnings had surpassed their pre-pandemic employment levels. Employment in professional, scientific and technical services ($1,523 per week) was 5.8% higher in June 2021 compared with February 2020, and employment in finance and insurance ($1,453 per week) was 1.6% higher.
The disproportionate loss of employment in lower-paying sectors has the effect of increasing overall average earnings.
Within each sector, changes in average weekly earnings are also influenced by factors, such as the share of employment by different occupation and job tenure. In the July LFS, a fixed-weighted index was used to control for these compositional changes. The results showed that while overall average hourly wages in June 2021 were 7.0% higher than the 2019 average, this was reduced to a 5.2% increase when controlling for occupation and tenure.
Average hours worked decrease for hourly employees
Hourly paid employees worked an average of 31.2 hours in June, down 1.3% from May. Average hours worked per week for salaried employees were 37.1, little changed from the previous month.
Job vacancies in accommodation and food services drive vacancy rate to new high in June
Canadian employers were actively recruiting for an estimated 815,800 positions in June 2021, as public health measures related to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly eased. While monthly and quarterly Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) statistics are not directly comparable, quarterly JVWS estimates show that prior to the pandemic, second-quarter job vacancies reached 581,600 in 2019 (data from the JVWS are unadjusted for seasonality).
The job vacancy rate, which measures vacant positions as a proportion of all positions (vacant and occupied), reached 5.0% in June. This was the highest job vacancy rate since monthly job vacancy estimates became available in October 2020.
The large majority of June vacancies—8 in 10—were in the services-producing sector. The number of job vacancies in accommodation and food services (129,100) surpassed that in health care and social assistance (109,300), which had previously led all sectors since November 2020. Retail trade (94,300) had the third-highest number of job vacancies.
Among all sectors, the job vacancy rate was highest in accommodation and food services (12.7%) in June, as the number of job vacancies reached a record high. With public health restrictions affecting this sector beginning to ease, outdoor dining resumed in late May or early June in many regions, and employers were actively recruiting to fill vacant positions.
British Columbia (6.0%) and Quebec (5.8%) had the highest job vacancy rates among the provinces in June. Job vacancy rates were lowest in Manitoba (3.7%) and Nova Scotia (3.8%).
Quarterly JVWS estimates provide more detailed information on job vacancies such as the type of work, occupation and average offered hourly wage. Estimates for the second quarter of 2021 will be released on September 21.
Looking ahead: Further loosening and lifting of public health measures
In July, public health measures were further loosened or lifted in Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. July SEPH data—to be released on September 28—will provide detailed information on sectors and subsectors that may have benefited from this further loosening of public health measures.
Sustainable development goals
On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the following 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 reporting on the global sustainable development goals. This release will be used to measure the following goals:
Note to readers
Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours
The key objective of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is to provide a monthly portrait of the level of earnings, employment and hours worked, by detailed industry, at the national, provincial and territorial levels.
Payroll employment, as measured by the SEPH, refers to the number of employees receiving pay or benefits (employment income) during a given month. The survey excludes the self-employed, owners and partners of unincorporated businesses and professional practices, and employees in the agricultural sector.
SEPH estimates are produced by integrating information from three sources: a census of approximately 1 million payroll deduction records provided by the Canada Revenue Agency; the Business Payrolls Survey, which collects data from a sample of 15,000 establishments; and administrative records of federal, provincial and territorial public administration employment, provided by these levels of government.
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 records and are not subject to sampling variability.
With each release of SEPH data, data for the preceding month are revised. Users are encouraged to use the most up-to-date data available for each month.
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 it collects data on the sociodemographic characteristics of all those in the labour market.
As a result of conceptual and methodological differences, estimates of changes from the SEPH and the LFS differ occasionally. However, the trends in the data are similar. For a more in-depth discussion of the conceptual differences between employment measures from the LFS and the 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 because the effects of seasonal variations are removed. 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 and 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 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.
Job Vacancy and Wage Survey
Beginning with the release of October 2020 data, preliminary monthly estimates from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) are published on a monthly basis. These estimates provide more timely information on the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate by province and by industrial sector.
JVWS collection is done on a quarterly basis. The quarterly sample of business locations is allocated to the three collection months of the quarter, approximately balanced by province and by industrial sector across each of the three months. This allows both quarterly and monthly estimates to be produced.
The JVWS also provides comprehensive quarterly data on job vacancies by industrial sector and detailed occupation for Canada and the provinces, territories and economic regions; offered hourly wages; and job vacancy characteristics. Quarterly data for the second and third quarters of 2020 are unavailable because survey operations were temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the concepts and use of data from the JVWS is available in the Guide to the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (). 75-514-G
Preliminary monthly estimates are produced for job vacancies, job vacancy rates and payroll employment using available responses from business locations sampled in the corresponding reference month. The reference period for the JVWS is the first day of the respective month.
These preliminary monthly estimates are revised and finalized when the corresponding quarterly estimates are released or shortly thereafter. Users are encouraged to use the most up-to-date data available for each month.
JVWS estimates are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter comparisons should be interpreted with caution as they may reflect seasonal movements.
While JVWS employment is calibrated to the SEPH, SEPH payroll employment and JVWS preliminary monthly employment figures may differ because of calibration grouping and differences in scope and reference period.
Real-time data tables
Real-time data tables 14-10-0357-01, 14-10-0358-01, 14-10-0331-01 and 14-10-0332-01 will be updated on September 13.
Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for July will be released on September 28.
More information about the concepts and use of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours is available in the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (72-203-G).
The product "Earnings and payroll employment in brief: Interactive app" (14200001) is now available. This interactive data visualization application provides a comprehensive picture of the Canadian labour market using the most recent data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. The estimates are seasonally adjusted and available by province and largest industrial sector. Historical estimates going back 10 years are also included. The interactive application allows users to quickly and easily explore and personalize the information presented. Combine multiple provinces and industrial sectors to create your own labour market domains of interest.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).
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