Canada December Employment, Earnings and Hours Report (Text)

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

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $908 in December, up 0.3% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis earnings increased 2.8%.

The 2.8% increase in earnings during the 12 months to December 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 December, non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 32.8 hours per week, unchanged from 12 months earlier but down from 33.1 in November.

Average weekly earnings by sector

Year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the national average in five of the largest industrial sectors, led by professional, scientific and technical services; health care and social assistance; and manufacturing.

Average weekly earnings in professional, scientific and technical services increased 5.9% to $1,263 in the 12 months to December. The largest growth was in advertising, public relations, and related services; computer systems design and related services; and legal services.

Weekly earnings in health care and social assistance increased 5.1% to $835. The most notable growth occurred in hospitals as well as nursing and residential care facilities.

In manufacturing, weekly earnings rose 4.8% to $1,040, led by growth in the manufacturing of transportation equipment; plastics and rubber products; food; and machinery.

Average weekly earnings in public administration increased 3.3% in December to $1,161, with the largest gains in local, municipal and regional and Aboriginal public administration.

In accommodation and food services, weekly earnings rose 2.9% to $371, led by growth in full-service restaurants; traveller accommodation; and drinking places.

Average weekly earnings by province

Year-over-year earnings growth of non-farm payroll employees was above the national average in seven provinces, with the highest growth in Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings rose 5.0% to $936 in the 12 months to December. The main contributors to this increase were health care and social assistance; accommodation and food services as well as professional, scientific and technical services.

In Alberta, earnings rose 4.2% from December 2011 to $1,094. This earnings level was at least 17% higher than that of any other province.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the two largest provinces posted earnings growth below the national average. In Ontario, average weekly earnings grew by 2.2% to $919, and in Quebec, they increased by 1.6% to $832.

Non-farm payroll employment by sector

Total non-farm payroll employment declined by 19,100 in December, following an increase of 37,300 the previous month.

In December, the number of payroll employees fell in administrative and support services; retail trade; and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. At the same time, there were increases in construction and finance and insurance.

On a year-over-year basis, payroll employment rose by 245,400 or 1.6%.

Among all sectors, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction continued to post the highest 12-month growth rate in payroll employment, at 5.6%. Growth was also high in construction (+5.4%); educational services (+2.9%); accommodation and food services (+2.6%); and transportation and warehousing (+2.6%). The most notable declines were in forestry, logging and support services (-6.9%) and utilities (-3.6%).

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.


With the March 27 release of January data, SEPH will start using the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) instead of NAICS 2007. Data will be revised historically back to 1991. At the same time, seasonally adjusted data will be revised based on the latest seasonal factors. Historical revisions will also be made to a small number of industries by province or territory. These changes will have little impact on SEPH estimates.