Modest job gains and strong wage growth
December 19, 2019
Focus Area—Canadian Economics
The Conference Board of Canada’s Senior Economist Cory Renner offers the following insights on today's Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours (SEPH):
“October’s Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours tells a similar story to what we’ve seen with recent releases of the Labour Force Survey. The most interesting findings will come in November, when we get another angle on how poorly employment performed in that month (the LFS suggested the largest job loss in nearly a decade). However, so far, the SEPH echo’s the main conclusions from the LFS, that while job growth does indeed seem to be slowing, wage growth remains strong.”
- Employment rose by 13,618 in October. This compares with a fall in employment of 1,800 in the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
- Employment gains were strongest in New Brunswick (+4,914) and British Columbia (+4,498). Meanwhile, they were weakest in Alberta (–2,839), Manitoba (–1,499) and Saskatchewan (–490).
- Average weekly earnings rose by 3.3 per cent in October when compared to the same month last year. This compares with a 4.2 per cent increase in weekly wages over the same period in October’s LFS.
- While average weekly earnings growth remains strong, Octobers increase was weaker than the 3.7 per cent year-over-year increase recorded in September.
- The best news of this report comes from the broad-based increase in earnings compared to a year ago.
- Every province recorded weekly wage growth of more than 2 per cent. Nova Scotia recorded the fastest growth (+4.7 per cent year-over-year), while Saskatchewan recorded the slowest growth (+2.2 per cent year-over-year).
- The increase was also widespread across industries.
- Overall, this month’s SEPH report tells a similar story to October’s LFS—slowing employment growth and faster wage growth than we’ve seen through the earlier parts of the year. While the story is the same between both surveys, both trends were more pronounced in the LFS than the SEPH.