Average weekly earnings up 0.3 per cent in December: StatsCan

Year-over-year earnings increase 2.8 per cent

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

The 2.8 per cent 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.

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 per cent 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 per cent to $835. The most notable growth occurred in hospitals as well as nursing and residential care facilities.

In manufacturing, weekly earnings rose 4.8 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent to $371, led by growth in full-service restaurants; traveler accommodation; and drinking places.

Provincial numbers

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

In Saskatchewan, average weekly earnings rose five per cent 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 per cent from December 2011 to $1,094. This earnings level was at least 17 per cent 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 per cent to $919, and in Quebec, they increased by 1.6 per cent 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 in 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 (1.6 per cent).

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