Average weekly earnings up 2 per cent from last year: StatsCan

Highest growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, lowest in Ontario
|payroll-reporter.com|Last Updated: 04/02/2012

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $888.89, up 0.6 per cent from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings rose two per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

The increase in earnings during the 12 months to January reflects a number of factors, such as wage growth and changes in the composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience.

Average hours worked per week can also contribute to changes in earnings. In January, the year-over-year growth in weekly earnings was dampened by a decline in hours worked. January was the third consecutive month of year-over-year declines in hours worked.

Non-farm payroll employees worked 32.9 hours per week on average in January, down from 33 hours one year earlier. Compared with December 2011, average weekly hours were up 0.1 hours from 32.8 hours, said StatsCan.

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average of two per cent in five of Canada's largest industrial sectors: retail trade, construction, wholesale trade, public administration and manufacturing.

In retail trade, average weekly earnings were $523.72, up 5.6 per cent in the 12 months to January. Among the largest retail industries, clothing stores, electronic and appliances stores, gasoline stations and sporting goods, hobby and musical instrument stores had the highest growth.

Earnings’ growth by sector

Earnings' growth in some smaller sectors surpassed the national average. From January 2011 to January 2012, earnings increased in the two highest-paying industries: mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, where they rose 8.2 per cent to $1,842.59, and utilities, where they increased 4.3 per cent to $1,686.56.

Average weekly earnings in construction increased 3.1 per cent to $1,105.70, with notable growth in residential building construction and among foundation, structure and building exterior contractors and other specialty trade contractors, said StatsCan.

Year-over-year growth in earnings was also above the national average in wholesale trade, up 2.5 per cent to $1,069.98 in January. The greatest increases were in wholesaler-distributors of miscellaneous products (such as recyclables, metals and agriculture supplies), motor vehicle and parts, building materials and supplies, and personal and household goods.

Average weekly earnings in public administration were up 2.4 per cent to $1,129.42, with above-average growth in local, municipal and regional public administration, found StatsCan.

In manufacturing, earnings increased by 2.3 per cent to $1,008.63, led by increases in the manufacturing of paper, non-metallic mineral products, furniture, food, miscellaneous products (such as medical and office supplies as well as toys), and printing and related services.

Average weekly earnings in health care and social assistance fell 1.7 per cent to $800.39 in the 12 months to January, with the decline occurring in social assistance, hospitals and ambulatory health care services.

Provincial stats

Average weekly earnings' growth was above the national average in seven provinces in the 12 months to January, with the highest growth in Newfoundland and Labrador. Prince Edward Island, along with the two largest provinces (Quebec and Ontario), had the lowest rates of growth.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, average weekly earnings were $919.86 in January, up 6.2 per cent from 12 months earlier. Earnings in this province have been higher than the national average since September 2011, said Statistics Canada.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings increased 3.5 per cent to $1,065.46. This remained the highest level of earnings among the provinces, and was 20 per cent higher than the national average in January.

In British Columbia, average weekly earnings rose 3.2 per cent to $859.54, while in Nova Scotia, they increased by 2.9 per cent to $779.92.

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were $907.44, up 2.7 per cent in the 12 months to January. Earnings in the province have exceeded the national average since August 2011.

The lowest year-over-year growth occurred in Ontario, where average weekly earnings were $903.22, up 0.6 per cent. Year-over-year earnings growth in this province has been less than two per cent since June 2011.

Employment by sector

From December to January, total non-farm payroll employment declined by 1,700. There were decreases in transportation and warehousing, "other services," accommodation and food services, and utilities. These declines were offset by gains in manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical services, construction, educational services and wholesale trade.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of non-farm payroll employees rose by 1.5 per cent (229,600), with the highest rate of growth in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (5.7 per cent), professional, scientific and technical services (4.3 per cent), construction (3.9 per cent) and accommodation and food services (2.9 per cent).

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