Average weekly earnings up 0.9 per cent in May: StatsCan

Year-over-year earnings rise 2.5 per cent
|payroll-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/31/2013

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $915 in May, up 0.9 per cent from the previous month, according to Statistics Canada. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 2.5 per cent.

The 2.5 per cent increase in weekly earnings during the 12 months to May reflected a number of factors, including wage growth, changes in composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience, as well as average hours worked per week.

In May, non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 33 hours per week, up from 32.9 hours per week recorded the month before as well as in May 2012.

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average in six of the largest industrial sectors, led by construction as well as administrative and support services.

Average weekly earnings in construction increased 6.2 per cent to $1,201 in the 12 months to May, driven by gains within heavy and civil engineering construction and among specialty trade contractors.

In administrative and support services, average weekly earnings grew by 5.7 per cent to $769, with gains spread across a number of industries within the sector.

Weekly earnings in wholesale trade rose 3.8 per cent to $1,079 in the 12 months to May, with most of the gains since October 2012. Growth over the 12-month period was led by food merchant wholesalers; business-to-business electronic markets, and agents and brokers; and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories merchant wholesalers.

In professional, scientific and technical services, weekly earnings increased 3.4 per cent to $1,279. Growth was most notable in legal services, specialized designed services, and in computer systems design and related services.

Compared with 12 months earlier, average weekly earnings in health care and social assistance grew by 3.1 per cent to $825, with most of the gains taking place in the first half of this period. Over the entire 12-month span, the largest earnings increases were in hospitals and in ambulatory health care services.

In public administration, weekly earnings rose 3.1 per cent to $1,177 in the 12 months to May. These gains were mainly the result of notable earnings growth in local, municipal and regional public administration from June 2012 to January 2013.

Weekly earnings in educational services edged down 0.6 per cent to $992 in the 12 months to May, driven by an earnings decline in elementary and secondary schools.

Provincial numbers

Year-over-year earnings growth of non-farm payroll employees was at or above the national average in five provinces, with the highest growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In Alberta, average weekly earnings increased 4.9 per cent to $1,114 in the 12 months to May, with growth across most sectors.

Average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan rose 4.8 per cent to $942, with the growth widespread across a number of sectors.

Compared with May 2012, average weekly earnings in Prince Edward Island increased by 3.7 per cent to $771.

The lowest year-over-year growth was in New Brunswick and Quebec, where earnings increased by 1.2 per cent in each province. In May, average weekly earnings in New Brunswick amounted to $821, and in Quebec, $841.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

Total non-farm payroll employment was up by 8,500 in May, after a slight decline of 1,100 in April. In the 12 months to May, the number of non-farm payroll employees rose by 117,200 or 0.8 per cent. Employment has been relatively flat since August 2012.

In May, the number of payroll employees increased in health care and social assistance; accommodation and food services; transportation and warehousing; and in retail trade. At the same time, there were declines in construction; manufacturing; and in administrative and support services.

Among all sectors, real estate and rental and leasing posted the highest 12-month growth rate in payroll employment at 3.9 per cent, with most of the gains occurring since December 2012. Growth rates from May 2012 to May 2013 were also notable in accommodation and food services which increased by 3.6 per cent. This sector has been on an upward trend since early 2011. Construction, which saw a 3.1 per cent increase, was on an upward trend before it declined over the past two months.

Over the same period, there were notable job declines in three sectors. Payroll employment fell 1.7 per cent in information and cultural industries, with the losses spread across a number of industries within the sector. Public administration declined by one per cent, mostly a result of losses in federal public administration in 2013. At the same time, manufacturing payroll employment was down by 0.9 per cent, with the declines occurring since March 2013.

Collection and estimates in Southern Alberta

Floods in parts of southern Alberta began during the later stages of the June collection period of May data for the Business Payroll Survey (BPS), the survey component of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. Despite this, the Alberta response rate for the May BPS remained high and similar to the Canadian response rate.

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