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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies, October 2021

Released: 2021-12-23

Average weekly earnings — Canada

$1,133.93

October 2021

2.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.L.

$1,100.83

October 2021

1.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — P.E.I.

$942.56

October 2021

-2.0% decrease

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.S.

$995.35

October 2021

1.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.B.

$1,013.97

October 2021

1.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Que.

$1,074.31

October 2021

1.8% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Ont.

$1,169.96

October 2021

2.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Man.

$1,044.68

October 2021

5.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Sask.

$1,115.35

October 2021

2.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Alta.

$1,227.97

October 2021

3.4% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — B.C.

$1,137.39

October 2021

4.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Y.T.

$1,328.93

October 2021

3.4% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.W.T.

$1,592.07

October 2021

6.6% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Nvt.

$1,495.99

October 2021

4.6% increase

(12-month change)

The number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—measured in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) as payroll employment—rose by 131,700 (+0.8%) in October, bringing it to within 0.6 percentage points of its pre-pandemic February 2020 level. October marks the fifth consecutive monthly payroll employment increase, a total growth of 876,700 (+5.5%) since June 2021.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Payroll employment increases for the fifth consecutive month in October
Payroll employment increases for the fifth consecutive month in October

Payroll employment increased in seven provinces in October, led by Ontario (+53,100; +0.8%), Quebec (+27,500; +0.7%) and British Columbia (+26,000; +1.1%). Additionally, seven provinces had either returned to or surpassed their pre-COVID level. The three provinces that remained below their February 2020 level were Newfoundland and Labrador (-7,200; -3.3%), Ontario (-119,100; -1.8%) and Alberta (-35,700; -1.8%).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Payroll employment had either returned to or surpassed the pre-COVID level in seven provinces in October
Payroll employment had either returned to or surpassed the pre-COVID level in seven provinces in October

In the services-producing sector, payroll employment increased by 102,800 (+0.8%) in October. Gains were driven by growth in accommodation and food services (+19,300; +1.7%), educational services (+17,200; +1.3%) and professional, scientific and technical services (+13,000; +1.2%). Despite these gains, payroll employment in the services-producing sector in October was still below (-135,000; -1.0%) its February 2020 level.

In the goods-producing sector, payroll employment rose by 18,700 (+0.6%) in October, driven by increases in Ontario (+8,700; +0.8%) and Alberta (+3,900; +1.0%). Nationally, gains were recorded in the manufacturing (+9,800; +0.6%) and construction (+7,100; +0.7%) sectors. In October, payroll employment in the goods-producing sector returned to its February 2020 level for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Accommodation and food services continue to lead payroll employment gains

Payroll employment in accommodation and food services increased by 19,300 (+1.7%) in October. Nearly all of the October gain was in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places (+18,400; +2.0%). There were also notable gains in recreational vehicle parks and recreational camps (+2,000; +14.1%), while payroll employment in traveller accommodation decreased by 1,600 (-1.2%), following four months of growth.

Manufacturing employment increases in October

After little change in September, payroll employment in manufacturing rose by 9,800 (+0.6%) in October. Increases in food manufacturing (+2,200; +0.9%), machinery manufacturing (+1,700; +1.2%) and fabricated metal product manufacturing (+1,400; +0.9%) were partly offset by a decline in primary metal manufacturing (-1,200; -2.1%). Despite the international shortage of semiconductor chips, payroll employment in the computer and electronic product manufacturing subsector increased by 2.1% in October but was 2.5% below its February 2020 level.

Compared with February 2020, payroll employment in manufacturing was down 1.3% in October. Employment in the sector has not recovered at the same rate across all industries. Beverage manufacturing (+2,800; +6.2%) was furthest above its pre-pandemic level in October, followed by medical equipment and supplies manufacturing (+2,600; +12.9%). On the other hand, printing and related support activities (-5,300; -11.2%) was furthest from its pre-pandemic employment level, followed by motor vehicle parts manufacturing (-3,500; -4.7%), another industry hindered by the semiconductor chip shortage.

Payroll employment growth continues in professional, scientific and technical services

In October, payroll employment increased by 13,000 (+1.2%) in the professional, scientific and technical services sector, continuing an upward trend that began in June 2020. All industries within the sector experienced payroll employment increases, led by computer systems design and related services (+5,000; +1.6%) and architectural, engineering and related services (+2,700; +1.3%).

Payroll employment in the professional, scientific and technical services sector has increased by 100,900 (+10.2%) when compared with February 2020. As indicated in the October Labour Force Survey, the number of self-employed workers in this sector, who are not counted as payroll employment, decreased by 52,000 (-11.0%) since October 2019, while the number of employees with a permanent work arrangement increased by 191,000 (+17.8%) during the same period. This may suggest a COVID-related shift away from freelance or consulting work (self-employed) to payroll employment.

Average weekly earnings and average hours worked little changed in October

Average weekly earnings were little changed in October, at $1,134. Gains in Manitoba (+1.9% to $1,045) and Nova Scotia (+1.1% to $995) were offset by decreases in Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.9% to $1,101) and Prince Edward Island (-1.4% to $943). Nationally, average weekly earnings were 8.5% higher in October than in February 2020, 20 months later. Alberta, the province with the highest average weekly earnings, observed a 4.1% rise in average weekly earnings (to $1,228).

In general, changes in average weekly earnings are the result of 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.

Average hours worked were little changed in October, with hourly paid employees working an average of 31.1 hours per week, while salaried employees worked an average of 37.1 hours per week.

Overall number of job vacancies remains elevated

At the start of October, Canadian employers were actively recruiting for an estimated 964,300 job vacancies, up 89.6% (+455,700) compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. In September, there were 1,014,600 vacancies, the highest number since comparable monthly data became available. (Data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey [JVWS] are not seasonally adjusted.)

The job vacancy rate, which measures vacant positions as a proportion of all positions (vacant and occupied), was 5.6% in October, up 2.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2019 (not seasonally adjusted).

Record high job vacancies in manufacturing and retail trade

The number of job vacancies in the manufacturing sector reached a new record high in October, with employers actively recruiting to fill 91,000 vacant positions. The job vacancy rate was 5.6%, the highest monthly rate since comparable data became available in October 2020. Payroll employment in the sector was 1.3% below its pre-COVID level.

Job vacancies in retail trade increased for the sixth consecutive month to reach a record high in October (132,800). The job vacancy rate also peaked at 6.3%, pushed up by increased vacancies and slow payroll employment recovery.

Key industries continue to face elevated levels of job vacancies

There were 125,600 vacancies in health care and social assistance in October, up 96.5% (+61,700) compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. In contrast, payroll employment in the sector was 4.6% (+96,200) higher than its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

In construction, the number of job vacancies was 134.6% (+44,200) higher in October 2021 than in the fourth quarter of 2019, while payroll employment was 2.7% higher than in February 2020.

Compared with September, the number of job vacancies in the accommodation and food services sector decreased 24.9% (-48,800) to 147,300 in October (not seasonally adjusted). Labour demand in this sector usually peaks in summer and declines in autumn. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, the number of job vacancies was up by 85,600 (+138.6%).

Looking ahead

November 2021 data for SEPH and JVWS will be released on January 27, 2022. Fourth quarter of 2021 (October to December) JVWS results will be released on March 22, 2022.




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 (Catalogue number72-203-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 (Catalogue number75-514-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 January 10, 2022.

Next release

Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for November 2021 will be released on January 27, 2022.

Products

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 (Catalogue number72-203-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.

Contact information

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; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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