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Canada February Employment, Earnings and Hours Report (Text)

The following is the text of Canada’s employment, earnings, and hours report for February released by Statistics Canada.

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $909 in February, up 0.9% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 3.1%.

The 3.1% increase in earnings during the 12 months to February reflects 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 February, non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.9 hours per week, down from 33.0 hours in January, but up from 32.8 hours a year earlier.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average in four of the largest industrial sectors.

Average weekly earnings in construction increased 4.6% to $1,166 in the 12 months to February. The most notable growth was in utility system construction, followed by non-residential building construction.

In public administration, weekly earnings rose 4.3% to $1,173, mainly a result of growth in local, municipal and regional public administration.

Weekly earnings in administrative and support services increased 4.1% to $763. The largest growth was in employment services, followed by investigation and security services, as well as services to buildings and dwellings.

Average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services grew 4.0% in the 12 months to February, to $1,265. Gains were led by legal services; computer systems design and related services; and architectural, engineering and related services.

In accommodation and food services, year-over-year earnings edged down 0.4%, to $360.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year-over-year average weekly earnings growth of non-farm payroll employees was above the national average in four provinces.

Average weekly earnings in Alberta increased 4.5% to $1,100 in the 12 months to February, led by growth in transportation and warehousing; public administration; and construction.

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings rose to $941, a 3.8% increase compared with 12 months earlier. Average weekly earnings grew 3.7% to $946 in Newfoundland and Labrador and 3.3% to $796 in Nova Scotia.

Earnings growth in New Brunswick was the lowest among the provinces, increasing 1.3% to $811. Earnings have been hovering around this level since September 2012.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

Total non-farm payroll employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 14,500 in February and 7,700 in January.

In February, the number of payroll employees rose most notably in construction, retail trade, and professional, scientific and technical services. Gains were partly offset by declines in health care and social assistance; and administrative and support services.

On a year-over-year basis, payroll employment rose by 244,500, or 1.6%.

Among all sectors, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction posted the highest 12-month growth rate in payroll employment (+7.1%), followed by construction (+6.4%), and real estate and rental and leasing (+3.9%). The most notable declines were in information and cultural industries (-1.9%) and public administration (-0.9%).

Note to readers

The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is a business census of non-farm payroll employees. Its key objective is to provide a monthly portrait of the level of earnings, the number of jobs and hours worked by detailed industry at the national, provincial and territorial level.

Estimates of average weekly earnings and hours are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. Payroll employment estimates are based on a census of administrative data and are not subject to sampling variability.

Statistics Canada also produces employment estimates from its monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is a 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), unemployed and not in the labour force. This survey is the official source for the unemployment rate and collects data on the socio-demographic characteristics of all those in the labour market.

As a result of conceptual and methodological differences, estimates of changes from SEPH and LFS do differ from time to time. However, the trends in the data are quite similar.

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends ( .

Non-farm payroll employment data are for all hourly and salaried employees, as well as the “other employees” category, which includes piece-rate and commission-only employees.

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 pay 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.

With each release, data for the current reference month are subject to revision. Data have been revised for the previous month. Users are encouraged to request and use the most up-to-date data for each month.

Corrections have been made to selected data points for February 2004, 2008 and 2012 on CANSIM tables 281-0028 and 281-0049. The last footnote in each table specifies which data points were changed.

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