Average weekly earnings climb 2.1 per cent

Alberta workers have fattest paycheques while Ontario wages remain stagnant: Statistics Canada
|payroll-reporter.com|Last Updated: 06/04/2012

Wages in Canada are keeping pace with rises in the consumer price index, according to recent data from Statistics Canada.

In March, the average weekly earnings of non-farm employees were $888.34, up 2.1 per cent on a year-over-year basis. In the same time period, the CPI rose 1.9 per cent.

The 2.1 per cent increase in the last year reflects a number of factors, according to Statistics Canada, including wage growth and changes in the composition of employment industry, occupational level of job experience.

Average hours worked declines

In March, the year-over-year growth in weekly earnings was tempered by a decline in hours worked. March was the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in hours worked.

Non-farm payroll employees worked 32.9 hours per week on average in March, down from 33 hours even a year earlier, but up from 32.8 hours in February.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average of 2.1 per cent in four of Canada's largest industrial sectors:

•professional, scientific and technical services

•construction

•public administration

•retail trade.

Earnings growth in accommodation and food services was on par with the national average.

Average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services increased 5.2 per cent to $1,249.39, with the highest growth in management, scientific and technical consulting; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll; and architectural, engineering and related services.

In construction, weekly earnings increased five per cent to $1,151.79 in the 12 months to March. Growth was widespread across industries in this sector and particularly strong among employees in residential and non-residential building construction.

In public administration, weekly earnings increased 3.1 per cent to $1,136.02, with notable growth in municipal, local and regional public administration as well as provincial-territorial public administration.

In retail trade, one of the lowest-paid sectors on average, weekly earnings were up 2.7 per cent to $526.26. There were notable gains among clothing and clothing accessories stores, as well as electronic and appliance stores.

Earnings for employees in accommodation and food services rose 2.1 per cent to $363.83. This sector remained the lowest paid of all sectors on average.

Average weekly earnings in manufacturing declined 0.4 per cent to $981.46 in March compared with 12 months earlier. There were notable declines in earnings in manufacturing of machinery; furniture and related products; and miscellaneous products such as medical equipment, sporting goods and office supplies.

Weekly earnings of payroll employees in health care and social assistance fell 0.6 per cent to $806.36, as earnings gains in ambulatory services, and nursing and residential care facilities were more than offset by declines in social assistance and hospitals.

Average earnings up in every province

Average weekly earnings increased in every province in the 12 months to March. Growth was above the national average in every province except Ontario and Nova Scotia. Earnings growth was highest in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were $918.15 in March, up 5.9 per cent from 12 months earlier. Earnings in the province have exceeded the national average since August 2011.

Average weekly earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador increased 4.7 per cent from March 2011 to $923.58. Year-over-year growth in earnings in Newfoundland and Labrador has been above the national rate of growth since December 2010, and the earnings level in the province has been higher than the national average since September 2011.

In Prince Edward Island, average weekly earnings rose 3.9 per cent to $754.18, and in British Columbia, earnings were up 3.8 per cent to $864.52.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings in the 12 months to March grew 3.3 per cent to $1,056.87, the highest level in the country.

The lowest year-over-year growth was in Ontario, where average weekly earnings rose 0.1 per cent to $896.61. Growth in the province has been lower than the national average since October 2010.

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