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Payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies, September 2023

Released: 2023-11-30

Average weekly earnings — Canada

$1,219.03

September 2023

4.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.L.

$1,219.23

September 2023

5.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — P.E.I.

$1,031.81

September 2023

4.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.S.

$1,084.82

September 2023

8.4% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.B.

$1,125.47

September 2023

5.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Que.

$1,170.05

September 2023

4.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Ont.

$1,244.95

September 2023

3.5% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Man.

$1,115.22

September 2023

4.7% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Sask.

$1,188.44

September 2023

3.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Alta.

$1,292.20

September 2023

2.0% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — B.C.

$1,239.84

September 2023

5.8% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Y.T.

$1,404.70

September 2023

5.6% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — N.W.T.

$1,627.27

September 2023

5.1% increase

(12-month change)

Average weekly earnings — Nvt.

$1,639.15

September 2023

2.9% increase

(12-month change)

The number of employees receiving pay and benefits from their employer—measured as "payroll employment" in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours—increased by 22,100 (+0.1%) in September, following a decline of 16,500 in August and little change in July. In September, payroll employment was virtually unchanged from June (+7,500; +0.0%).

Meanwhile, job vacancies declined by 40,700 (-6.1%) to 632,200 in September, continuing the steady downward trend from the peak of just over 1 million reached in May 2022.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Payroll employment increases in September
Payroll employment increases in September

The largest monthly increases in payroll employment were recorded in educational services (+17,800; +1.2%) and health care and social assistance (+16,600; +0.7%), followed by public administration (+7,200; +0.6%), construction (+1,900; +0.2%), utilities (+1,700; +1.3%), and management of companies and enterprises (+1,000; +0.8%).

These gains were partially offset by fewer payroll employees in accommodation and food services (-5,300; -0.4%), retail trade (-4,100; -0.2%), information and cultural industries (-2,600; -0.7%), wholesale trade (-1,700; -0.2%), and real estate and rental and leasing (-500; -0.2%). The remaining nine sectors were little changed in September.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Overall payroll employment increase largely concentrated in educational services and health care and social assistance
Overall payroll employment increase largely concentrated in educational services and health care and social assistance

Payroll employment in educational services increases

In September, payroll employment in educational services increased by 17,800 (+1.2%), more than offsetting the decline in August (-6,600). Growth in September was concentrated in elementary and secondary schools (+14,600; +1.8%) with more modest gains in community colleges and CEGEPs (+3,700; +2.7%).

Hospitals and nursing care facilities drive growth in health care and social assistance in September

Payroll employment in healthcare and social assistance increased by 16,600 (+0.7%) in September, the second-largest monthly gain in 2023, following June (+22,800; +1.0%). Payroll employment in the sector has trended upward since September 2022, with a cumulative gain of 105,000 (+4.7%) over the period, the largest of any sector.

The monthly sectoral gain in payroll employment in September 2023 was driven by general medical and surgical hospitals (+7,600; +1.2%) and nursing care facilities (+3,500; +1.5%). Together, these two industries accounted for about one-third of the sector's overall employment but accounted for two-thirds of payroll employment growth in health care and social assistance in September. These two industries also accounted for almost half of the growth in the sector since September 2022.

Payroll employment in public administration rises for third consecutive month

In September 2023, payroll employment in public administration rose by 7,200 (+0.6%). This marked the third consecutive monthly increase for the sector, bringing cumulative increases since June to 22,700 (+1.8%). The largest monthly gains in September were recorded in federal government public administration (+5,000; +1.3%) and provincial and territorial public administration (+1,200; +0.3%).

Uptick in construction following decline in August

Payroll employment in construction edged up by 1,900 (+0.2%) in September, following a decline of 13,100 (-1.1%) in August. The September increase was concentrated in construction of buildings (+1,600; +0.5%) and heavy and civil engineering construction (+1,400; +0.8%), but was tempered by a drop in specialty trade contractors (-1,100; -0.2%).

In September, payroll employment in construction was down by 11,200 from July and virtually unchanged from April.

Third consecutive monthly decline in accommodation and food services

In September, payroll employment in accommodation and food services declined for the third consecutive month (-5,300; -0.4%), bringing cumulative losses since June to 8,900 (-0.7%).

The monthly decline in the sector in September was mainly in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places (-4,100; -0.4%) and drinking places (alcoholic beverages) (-300; -0.8%).

Payroll employment in retail trade falls in September

Payroll employment in retail trade decreased by 4,100 (-0.2%) in September, following little change in July and August. Declines were recorded in six of nine subsectors, led by building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-1,400; -1.0%), health and personal care retailers (-1,000; -0.5%) and general merchandise retailers (-900; -0.3%).

Motor vehicle and parts dealers (+400; +0.2%) was the sole subsector to record growth in September.

Average weekly earnings little changed in September

Month over month, average weekly earnings were little changed at $1,219 in September, following little change in August and 0.8% growth in July. Finance and insurance (+4.3% to $1,666) was the lone sector with a month-over-month gain in average weekly earnings in September.

On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings grew 4.0% in September, following a 3.9% increase in August. In general, growth in average weekly earnings can reflect a range of factors, including changes in wages, composition of employment and hours worked.

In September, average weekly hours were essentially unchanged compared with the previous month but were up 0.3% (to 33.4 hours) year over year.

Job vacancies continue to decline in September

Job vacancies declined by 40,700 (-6.1%) to 632,200 in September, continuing the steady downward trend from the peak of just over 1 million (1,003,200) reached in May 2022. Job vacancies in September 2023 were at their lowest level since February 2021 (619,200).

Total labour demand, which corresponds to the sum of filled and vacant positions, declined for the third consecutive month in September 2023. From June to September, payroll employment varied little while job vacancies fell by 104,700.

The job vacancy rate—which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand—decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.6% in September, the lowest level since January 2021.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Despite uptick in payroll employment since March 2023, the continued decline in job vacancies has resulted in a gradual decline of overall labour demand
Despite uptick in payroll employment since March 2023, the continued decline in job vacancies has resulted in a gradual decline of overall labour demand

In September 2023, the number of unfilled positions decreased in four sectors: accommodation and food services (-15,000; -18.8%), construction (-10,800; -17.3%), finance and insurance (-9,800; -39.2%), and public administration (-2,400; -14.8%). These decreases were partially offset by more vacancies in educational services (+4,800; +27.2%) and information and cultural industries (+2,400; +43.1%).

Job vacancies were little changed in the remaining 14 sectors, including in health care and social assistance where the number of vacancies remained elevated. In September, vacancies in health care and social assistance accounted for 21.0% of all vacancies, compared with 20.1% in August and 16.7% in September 2022.

In September 2023, there were 1.9 unemployed persons for every job vacancy, up from 1.8 in August and 1.2 at the start of the year. The increase in the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio in September was driven by fewer vacancies (-40,700; -6.1%), as the number of unemployed persons (from the Labour Force Survey) was little changed in September.

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio remains on an upward trend as job vacancies continue to decline in September
Unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio remains on an upward trend as job vacancies continue to decline in September

Job vacancies down in accommodation and food services

Job vacancies in accommodation and food services fell by 15,000 (-18.8%) to 64,600 in September, the lowest level since February 2021, and marking the fourth monthly decline since May 2023.

The job vacancy rate in the sector was 4.8% in September, down from 5.8% in August and from 7.9% in April. The drop in the job vacancy rate since April was driven by fewer job vacancies (-48,400; -42.8%), as payroll employment decreased 1.8% (-23,700) over this period.

Fewer job vacancies in construction

The number of job vacancies in construction decreased by 10,800 (-17.3%) to 51,700 in September, following little change in July and August.

The job vacancy rate in the sector was 4.2% in September, down from 5.0% in June, July and August. The drop in the job vacancy rate in construction since June reflected lower job vacancies (-9,500; -15.6%), as payroll employment showed little change over the period.

Job vacancies fall in four provinces

In Alberta, the number of vacancies fell by 6,500 (-7.4%) to 81,600 in September, almost offsetting the increase in August (+7,300; +9.0%). Ontario (-19,100 to 223,600), Quebec (-14,400 to 141,100) and Nova Scotia (-2,300 to 14,700) also reported fewer job vacancies in September. Meanwhile, job vacancies increased in Manitoba (+3,400 to 24,000) and Prince Edward Island (+1,800 to 3,600). There was little change in the number of vacancies in the other four provinces in September.

Year over year, the job vacancy rate declined in seven provinces in September, including the two provinces with the highest rates in September 2022: British Columbia (from 5.7% in September 2022 to 4.0% in September 2023) and Quebec (from 5.7% to 3.5%). Meanwhile, the job vacancy rate was little changed in September in Prince Edward Island (4.9%), Saskatchewan (4.7%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (3.1%).




Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 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

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 and 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

Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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).

Real-time data tables

Real-time data tables 14-10-0357-01 and 14-10-0358-01 have now been archived.

Real-time data tables 14-10-0331-01 and 14-10-0332-01 will be updated on December 18.

Next release

October data for the SEPH and JVWS will be released on December 21.

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" (Catalogue number14200001) 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 that go back 10 years are also included. The interactive application allows users to explore and personalize the information presented quickly and easily. 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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