Payroll earnings up 0.2 per cent in February: StatsCan

February marks fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in hours worked
||Last Updated: 04/26/2012

In February, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $886.45, up 0.2 per cent from the previous month, according to Statistics Canada.

On a year-over-year basis, earnings rose 1.8 per cent.

The 1.8 per cent increase in earnings during the 12 months to February 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 February, the year-over-year growth in weekly earnings was slowed by a decline in hours worked.

February was the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in hours worked. Non-farm payroll employees worked 32.8 hours per week on average in February, down from 33 hours 12 months earlier and 32.9 hours in January.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average of 1.8 per cent in construction and wholesale trade.

Average weekly earnings in construction increased 5.4 per cent to $1,120.03, with notable growth in all industries within this sector.

In wholesale trade, earnings increased 3.3 per cent to $1,096.98 in the 12 months to February, with notable gains during the month. The highest growth rates were in wholesaler-distributors of personal and household goods; food, beverage and tobacco; and miscellaneous items such as recyclables, metals and agricultural supplies.

Among the smaller sectors, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction had the highest growth in earnings, with an 8.7 per cent increase to $1,850.20 in the 12 months to February.

Earnings declined in two of the larger sectors. In administrative and support services, earnings were down one per cent to $730.34. The decrease was mainly in investigation and security services, employment services, and services to buildings and dwellings.

In professional, scientific and technical services, average weekly earnings fell 0.6 per cent to $1,211.77. The decline occurred mainly in accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping services and in legal services.

Average weekly earnings up in every province

Average weekly earnings increased in every province in the 12 months to February, and growth was above the national average in six provinces. Growth was highest in Saskatchewan and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings were $905.98, up five per cent in the 12 months to February. Earnings in the province have exceeded the national average since August 2011.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, average weekly earnings amounted to $919.08 in February, up 3.9 per cent from 12 months earlier. Earnings in this province have been higher than the national average since September 2011.

In Prince Edward Island, average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent to $729.00, and in Alberta, earnings were up 2.7 per cent to $1,057.57, the highest earnings of all provinces.

The lowest year-over-year growth occurred in Ontario, where average weekly earnings were $899.90, up 0.7 per cent. Earnings growth in the province has been lower than the national average since October 2010.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

From January to February, total non-farm payroll employment declined by 19,200. There were decreases in administrative and support services, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. These declines were partially offset by gains in construction and in health care and social assistance.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of non-farm payroll employees rose by 182,300 or 1.2 per cent, with most of the gains in the first half of the period. The highest growth occurred in construction (3.3 per cent); professional, scientific and technical services (three per cent); mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (2.9 per cent); and accommodation and food services (2.5 per cent).

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