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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies, January 2022

Released: 2022-03-29

Average weekly earnings — Canada

$1,161.58

January 2022

2.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.L.

$1,116.52

January 2022

3.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — P.E.I.

$969.28

January 2022

2.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.S.

$1,005.39

January 2022

1.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.B.

$1,040.40

January 2022

3.3% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Que.

$1,109.96

January 2022

3.1% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Ont.

$1,193.26

January 2022

1.4% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Man.

$1,039.78

January 2022

1.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Sask.

$1,134.20

January 2022

3.8% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Alta.

$1,253.77

January 2022

2.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — B.C.

$1,159.70

January 2022

4.2% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Y.T.

$1,328.80

January 2022

4.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.W.T.

$1,609.94

January 2022

7.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Nvt.

$1,576.00

January 2022

6.9% increase

(12-month change)

The number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—measured by the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) as payroll employment—was little changed in January.

Increases in professional, scientific and technical services (+28,100; +2.6%) and construction (+21,900; +2.0%) were offset by declines in accommodation and food services (-64,500; -5.5%), and arts, entertainment and recreation (-15,600; -5.8%).

With the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, many jurisdictions had tightened public health measures by late December 2021 and early January 2022. Capacity limits or closures had been re-introduced in high-contact settings such as restaurants, bars, retail stores and gyms.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Payroll employment is little changed in January
Payroll employment is little changed in January

Payroll employment increases only in British Columbia

Payroll employment increased in British Columbia (+22,300; +0.9%) in January, driven by professional, scientific and technical services (+7,900; +4.8%). On the other hand, declines were recorded in three provinces, New Brunswick (-4,500; -1.3%), Nova Scotia (-2,800; -0.6%), and Manitoba (-2,200; -0.4%), all driven by decreases in the services-producing sector.

Professional, scientific and technical services posts its largest monthly payroll employment increase since the beginning of the pandemic

Payroll employment in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 28,100 (+2.6%) in January, its largest monthly payroll employment increase since the beginning of the pandemic. Recent Labour Force Survey results indicated that this sector had among the largest share of employees working in a 'hybrid' model, with some days worked at home and others at a work site, creating flexibility that can potentially lead to some employment growth despite tighter public health measures in place. Payroll employment increased in every industry within the sector, led by computer systems design and related services (+10,700; +3.3%), with gains totalling 69,400 (+25.7%) since February 2020.

Payroll employment in the professional, scientific and technical services sector increased in eight provinces in January 2022, led by Ontario (+10,500; +2.2%) and British Columbia (+7,900; +4.8%). Since regaining its pre-pandemic employment level in January 2021, payroll employment in this sector has continued to increase. In January 2022, employment in the sector was 130,700 (+13.2%) above its pre-COVID-19 level, led by Ontario (+49,800; +11.4%), Quebec (+35,900; +15.9%) and British Columbia (+31,100; +22.2%).

Payroll employment in construction continues to increase

Payroll employment in construction rose by 21,900 (+2.0%) in January, a higher pace of growth than in November (+5,400; +0.5%) and December 2021 (+10,600; +1.0%). Quebec (+13,500; +6.2%) accounted for more than half of the monthly gain. Nationally, gains were spread across most industries within the sector, with residential building construction (+6,700; +4.4%) reporting the largest monthly payroll employment increase. The January 2022 report on investment in building construction indicated that residential construction investment rose 4.1% to $14.1 billion in January, potentially increasing demand for labour.

In January, payroll employment in construction was above its pre-COVID level in all provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador (-400; -2.2%). At the national level, residential building construction (+13,400; +9.1%) and building equipment contractors (+11,600; +4.1%) were the industries furthest above their pre-pandemic employment level.

Payroll employment declines in accommodation and food services with the tightening of public health restrictions in January

Payroll employment in accommodation and food services decreased by 64,500 (-5.5%) in January, its largest monthly decline since April 2021. In an effort to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, most provinces continued to tighten public health restrictions in January 2022, including closing indoor dining in restaurants and various entertainment and recreational facilities. Payroll employment in accommodation and food services decreased in eight provinces, led by Quebec (-35,800; -14.6%) and Ontario (-25,300; -5.9%). Nationally, decreases were seen in all industries within the food services and drinking places subsector, but were concentrated in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places (-50,100; -5.4%), the industry furthest below its pre-COVID level (-148,800; -14.5%).

Arts, entertainment and recreation observes payroll employment losses in seven provinces

Payroll employment in arts, entertainment and recreation declined by 15,600 (-5.8%) in January, with seven provinces reporting losses. Gains were observed in Saskatchewan (+200; +2.2%), while payroll employment was little changed in Alberta and Nova Scotia. The largest monthly payroll employment decrease in the sector was in other amusement and recreation industries (-12,400; -8.2%), bringing it 18.3 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level. This industry includes establishments affected by stricter public health measures such as fitness and recreational sports centres and bowling centres.

Average weekly earnings increase in January, while average weekly hours remain little changed

Average weekly earnings were $1,162 in January. Year over year, average weekly earnings increased 2.5% in January 2022. The Consumer Price Index rose 5.1% during the same period.

Year over year, average weekly earnings grew at the fastest rate in retail trade (+8.4% to $702), mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+7.3% to $2,230), and professional, scientific and technical services (+7.1% to $1,613) in January. On the other hand, average weekly earnings were little changed in 10 sectors, including arts, entertainment and recreation, wholesale trade, and finance and insurance.

Average weekly hours worked was little changed from December 2021 at 33.6, but up 2.3% from its pre-pandemic level.

Job vacancies down from December 2021

Canadian employers were actively recruiting for 830,700 vacant positions at the start of January amid tightened public health measures. The number of vacancies was 5.4% (-47,000) lower than at the beginning of December 2021, but 62.0% (+317,900) higher than in the first quarter of 2020, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey are not seasonally adjusted).

The job vacancy rate, which measures the number of vacant positions as a proportion of all positions (vacant and filled), was 4.8% in January 2022, down from 5.1% in the previous month, but up from 3.1% during the first quarter of 2020.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Job vacancies decrease but remain at elevated levels
Job vacancies decrease but remain at elevated levels

Job vacancies down in accommodation and food services and retail trade

There were 94,000 job vacancies in accommodation and food services in January, down 33.0% (-46,300) from December 2021, and down 50.4% from the peak reached in September 2021 (189,500). This was likely due to a combination of expected seasonal effects (as vacancies in the sector usually decline in the winter season) and tightening of public health measures. While the job vacancy rate in the sector was down from December 2021 (from 10.8% to 7.5%), it remained the highest among all sectors for the ninth consecutive month. Despite the monthly drop, the number of vacancies in the sector was 55.8% higher in January 2022 than in the first quarter of 2020 (60,300).

There were 81,900 job vacancies in retail trade in January, down 18.7% (-18,900) compared with December 2021, but 62.5% (+31,500) higher than in the first quarter of 2020. This decline was likely attributable in large part to expected seasonal effects, as vacancies in the sector typically decrease after the holiday period.

Record high job vacancies in professional, scientific and technical services

Job vacancies in professional, scientific and technical services reached an all-time high of 73,600 in January, up 15.5% (+9,800) from its December 2021 level. The job vacancy rate rose 0.7 percentage points to 6.2%, a record high since comparable monthly data became available for October 2020. Coinciding with increasing vacancies in the sector, payroll employment in professional, scientific and technical services recorded its largest monthly increase in January 2022 since the beginning of the pandemic (+28,100; +2.6%) (data on employment are from SEPH and adjusted for seasonality).

More job vacancies in construction, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing

On a month-over-month basis, the number of vacancies in construction increased 11.4% (+6,800 to 66,100) in January. This followed three consecutive monthly declines that came after a record high (81,700) reached in September 2021. The number of job vacancies in January 2022 was 89.7% (+31,200) higher than in the first quarter of 2020.

In manufacturing, there were 83,300 vacant positions in January, up 15.0% (+10,800) from the previous month, and almost double (+98.1%; +41,300) compared with the first quarter of 2020. The job vacancy rate was 5.1% in January 2022, up from 4.5% in the previous month.

The number of job vacancies in transportation and warehousing increased 29.1% (+10,900) to 48,500 in January, nearly back to the November 2021 record high (48,700). The job vacancy rate was 5.7% in January 2022, up 1.1 percentage points compared with the previous month.

Job vacancies virtually unchanged in health care and social assistance

Employers in healthcare and social assistance were seeking to fill 134,900 vacant positions in January, little changed from December 2021 (134,000). The job vacancy rate remained at its December 2021 record high of 5.8%. Compared with the first quarter of 2020, the number of vacancies in the sector was up 89.9% (+63,900).

Job vacancies down in four provinces

On a month-over-month basis, job vacancies were down in January in Newfoundland and Labrador (-29.5% to 4,500), New Brunswick (-12.1% to 12,600), Ontario (-9.4% to 304,300) and Quebec (-7.8% to 214,800).

In January, there was an average of 1.7 unemployed people for each job vacancy in Canada, up from 1.2 in December 2021. This increase was largely a result of unemployment, spiking in January 2022 (+278,000) before dropping again (-209,000) in February (Labour Force Survey, unadjusted from seasonality). The unemployment to job vacancy ratio varied across the country in January, with the lowest ratios in British Columbia (1.0) and Quebec (1.2) and the highest ratios in Prince Edward Island (3.9) and Newfoundland and Labrador (7.8). A lower ratio of unemployed persons to job vacancies indicates a tighter labour market and possible labour shortages.

Looking ahead

At the end of January and February, several provinces loosened public health measures, including a return to in-person schooling and the re-opening of indoor dining and recreational facilities.

The impacts of these changing labour market conditions on payroll employment, vacancies and labour market tightness will be reflected in the February and March results.




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

With this release of January 2022 estimates, seasonally adjusted data have been revised based on the latest seasonal factors. Seasonally adjusted estimates have been revised historically back to 2001. Historical revisions have also been made to a small number of industries (four-digit level of the North American Classification System).

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 April 11, 2022.

Next release

Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for February will be released on April 28.

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" (14-20-0001) 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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