Canada's payroll employment rose by 126,000, or 0.7% in April led by gains across all provinces except for Quebec; average weekly earnings unchanged from March at C$1,170: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , June 24, 2022 (press release) –

The number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—measured by the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH)—increased by 126,000 (+0.7%) in April. Gains were spread across all provinces except for Quebec, which reported little change. Ontario (+49,900; +0.7%), Alberta (+37,200; +1.9%) and British Columbia (+16,600; +0.7%) reported the largest payroll employment increases in April.

In April, for the first time, payroll employment in all provinces had either returned to or surpassed levels seen in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proportionally, Prince Edward Island (+4,400; +6.4%), New Brunswick (+16,900; +5.2%) and British Columbia (+87,500; +3.7%) were the provinces furthest above their pre-pandemic level. As of April, all provinces had eased public health measures around capacity limits, allowing most businesses to operate without pandemic-related restrictions.

Chart 1: Payroll employment continues to increase in April

Payroll employment continues to grow in both the services-producing and goods-producing sectors in April
Payroll employment in the services-producing sector increased by 90,300 (+0.6%) in April, bringing the total increase to 314,300 (+2.3%) since February 2022, when public health measures related to COVID-19 began to ease in most provinces. Gains were recorded in 11 of the 15 subgroups in the sector, driven by accommodation and food services (+34,500; +2.9%) and educational services (+9,700; +0.7%).

In the goods-producing sector, payroll employment rose by 18,700 (+0.6%) in April, recording its largest increase since January 2022 (+27,500; +0.9%). The monthly gain was led by construction (+10,500; +0.9%), manufacturing (+4,600; +0.3%) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (+2,300; +1.1%).

Payroll employment in accommodation and food services continues to increase in April
In April, payroll employment in the accommodation and food services sector rose by 34,500 (+2.9%), for a total increase of 115,700 (+10.4%) since February 2022. Gains in the sector were observed in all provinces, led by Ontario (+11,700; +2.7%) and Quebec (+7,600; +3.1%). Nationally, all industries in accommodation and food services recorded monthly payroll employment increases in April, with gains mainly attributed to full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places (+21,400; +2.3%).

In April, payroll employment in the sector was 118,200 (-8.8%) below its pre-pandemic level, likely due to the fewer active businesses in accommodation and food services and other tourism industries reported in February 2022 compared with February 2020. All industries within the sector were below their pre-pandemic levels, with the exception of rooming and boarding houses (+600; +7.8%).

Educational services surpass pre-pandemic payroll employment level for the first time
In April, payroll employment in educational services rose by 9,700 (+0.7%) from the previous month, surpassing its February 2020 level for the first time (+8,000; +0.6%). The monthly increase was spread across Alberta (+4,000; +2.8%), Quebec (+3,100; +0.9%) and Nova Scotia (+900; +2.1%). Elementary and secondary school services accounted for more than half of the monthly increase in April (+5,800; +0.7%).

Of the six provinces that surpassed pre-pandemic payroll employment levels in educational services in April, New Brunswick grew the most (+6.3%), followed by Nova Scotia (+6.0%). However, payroll employment in educational services for Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.1%), Alberta (-2.5%), British Columbia (-2.2%) and Ontario (-0.5%) was still below February 2020 levels.

Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia drive payroll employment increase in construction
Payroll employment in construction increased by 10,500 (+0.9%) in April, led by Alberta (+4,900; +2.8%), Ontario (+2,100; +0.5%) and British Columbia (+1,700; +0.9%). Nationally, gains were spread across nearly all industries within the sector, with utility system construction (+3,500; +4.7%) and other specialty trade contractors (+1,500; +1.2%) accounting for nearly half of the gain in April.

In April, nearly all industries within construction had surpassed their pre-COVID payroll employment level. Residential building construction was furthest above its February 2020 level (+16,900; +11.5%), coinciding with a 27.8% increase in housing starts over the same period. Land subdivision (-200; -1.5%) was the lone industry in construction to remain below its February 2020 level.

Average weekly earnings increase on a year-over-year basis
Average weekly earnings were $1,170 in April, essentially unchanged from March. On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings increased 4.0% in April, slightly lower than the year-over-year increase observed in March (+4.2%). All provinces reported year-over-year average weekly earnings increases in April, led by Nova Scotia (+7.8% to $1,030) and New Brunswick (+6.4% to $1,073). Nova Scotia was the only province where growth in average weekly earnings outpaced the provincial Consumer Price Index (CPI) growth.

Chart 2: April year-over-year change in average weekly earnings outpaces Consumer Price Index growth in Nova Scotia

Nearly two-thirds of all sectors saw year-over-year increases in average weekly earnings in April, while the national CPI increased 6.8% during the same period. Retail trade (+11.7% to $715), professional, scientific and technical services (+9.7% to $1,680), manufacturing (+8.2% to $1,264) and wholesale trade (+7.4% to $1,417), which together accounted for close to one-third of all payroll employees, were the only sectors in which year-over-year average weekly earnings grew more than the CPI in April. Arts, entertainment and recreation (-4.5% to $711) was the lone industry to report a year-over-year decrease in average weekly earnings, likely due, in part, to the larger year-over-year payroll employment increase among lower-paying hourly employees (+66,800; +50.8%) compared with salaried employees (+9,700; +15.1%) in this sector.

Average weekly hours little changed in April
Average weekly hours worked were little changed in April compared with the previous month, sitting at 1.8% above its pre-COVID level. Construction (+1.0%) was the only sector to report a monthly increase in average weekly hours worked in April, coinciding with seven consecutive monthly increases in investment in building construction.

Overall job vacancies continue to increase in April
Across all sectors, employers in Canada were actively seeking to fill about one million (1,001,100) vacant positions at the beginning of April, up 2.4% (+23,300) from the previous month and up 44.4% (+308,000) from April 2021 (not seasonally adjusted). Experimental data developed by Statistics Canada to remove seasonal variations indicated that the month-over-month increase in April was in large part due to seasonal patterns, as job vacancies typically increase in the spring and summer.

Chart 3: Job vacancies increase since October 2020

The job vacancy rate, which measures the number of vacant positions as a proportion of all positions (vacant and filled), was 5.8% in April, up from 4.4% in April 2021 (not seasonally adjusted).

Job vacancies reach record high in Alberta and Ontario
The month-over-month increase in job vacancies in April pushed those vacancies to record highs in Alberta (+20.6% to 112,900) and Ontario (+4.3% to 378,200). At the same time, job vacancies declined in Nova Scotia (-10.7% to 20,100) and were little changed in the other provinces.

There was an average of 1.1 unemployed people for each job vacancy in April, down from 1.2 in March, and down from 2.4 one year earlier (not seasonally adjusted). While there was less than one unemployed person for every job vacancy in Quebec (0.8) and British Columbia (0.9)—the two provinces with the highest job vacancy rates—there were almost four unemployed people for every vacant job in Newfoundland and Labrador (3.7).

For more information on trends regarding the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio and current labour shortages, see "Labour shortages trends in Canada."

Record high job vacancies in many sectors
The number of job vacancies in the construction sector reached a new high of 89,900 in April, up 15.4% (+12,000) from March and up 43.3% (+27,200) from April 2021. The job vacancy rate was 7.9% in April 2022, the highest monthly rate in the sector since comparable data became available in October 2020. The month-over-month increase was partly attributable to seasonal variations, as job vacancies typically trend up for most of the spring and summer months in this sector.

Job vacancies also increased to a record high in April in professional, scientific and technical services (73,700); transportation and warehousing (52,000); finance and insurance (49,900); arts, entertainment and recreation (22,200); and real estate and rental and leasing (13,500).

Job vacancies up in manufacturing and little changed in accommodation and food services
In manufacturing, there were 90,400 vacant positions in April, up 7.3% from March and up 30.7% from April 2021. The job vacancy rate was 5.6%, matching the record high rate observed in October 2021.

In accommodation and food services, employers were actively seeking to fill 153,000 vacant positions in April, little changed from the previous month. The job vacancy rate was 11.9%, the highest of any sector. According to the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions for the second quarter of 2022, 24.6% of businesses in accommodation and food services expected to have more vacant positions over the next three months, compared with 8.8% for all businesses. This sector had the lowest average offered wage for vacant positions of any sector in the first quarter of 2022 at $15.85 per hour, despite a larger year-over-year average offered wage growth recorded in the sector (+5.4%) compared with all sectors combined (+2.5%).

Job vacancies down in health care and social assistance and retail trade
In the health care and social assistance sector, the number of job vacancies decreased 15.1% to 125,200 in April from its peak of 147,500 reached in March 2022, but was 21.3% higher than in April 2021. Payroll employment in April 2022 was little changed compared with the previous month.

There were 97,800 job vacancies in retail trade in April, down 7.1% (-7,500) from March, but 27.9% (+21,400) higher than in April 2021. The job vacancy rate was 4.7%, up from 3.9% in April 2021. The month-over-month decrease in job vacancies occurred while payroll employment in April was 0.3% above its February 2020 pre-pandemic level (SEPH, seasonally adjusted) in this sector.

Next release
May data for the SEPH and the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) will be released on July 28, 2022. Second quarter of 2022 (April to June) JVWS results, which will also provide insights into job vacancies by subsector, vacancies by occupation and offered wages, will be released on September 20, 2022.

Note to readers
Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours
The key objective of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is to provide a monthly portrait of the level of earnings, employment and hours worked, by detailed industry, at the national, provincial and territorial levels.

Payroll employment, as measured by the SEPH, refers to the number of employees receiving pay or benefits (employment income) during a given month. The survey excludes the self-employed, owners and partners of unincorporated businesses and professional practices, and employees in the agricultural sector.

SEPH estimates are produced by integrating information from three sources: a census of approximately 1 million payroll deduction records provided by the Canada Revenue Agency; the Business Payrolls Survey, which collects data from a sample of 15,000 establishments; and administrative records of federal, provincial and territorial public administration employment, provided by these levels of government.

Estimates of average weekly earnings and hours worked are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level. Payroll employment estimates are based on a census of administrative records and are not subject to sampling variability.

With each release of SEPH data, data for the preceding month are revised. Users are encouraged to use the most up-to-date data available for each month.

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

As a result of conceptual and methodological differences, estimates of changes from the SEPH and the LFS differ occasionally. However, the trends in the data are similar. For a more in-depth discussion of the conceptual differences between employment measures from the LFS and the SEPH, refer to Section 8 of the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G).

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitate month-to-month comparisons because the effects of seasonal variations are removed. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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

Unless otherwise specified, 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 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.

Job Vacancy and Wage Survey
Beginning with the release of October 2020 data, preliminary monthly estimates from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) are published on a monthly basis. These estimates provide more timely information on the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate by province and by industrial sector.

JVWS collection is done on a quarterly basis. The quarterly sample of business locations is allocated to the three collection months of the quarter, approximately balanced by province and by industrial sector across each of the three months. This allows both quarterly and monthly estimates to be produced.

The JVWS also provides comprehensive quarterly data on job vacancies by industrial sector and detailed occupation for Canada and the provinces, territories and economic regions; offered hourly wages; and job vacancy characteristics. Quarterly data for the second and third quarters of 2020 are unavailable because survey operations were temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the concepts and use of data from the JVWS is available in the Guide to the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (Catalogue number75-514-G).

Preliminary monthly estimates are produced for job vacancies, job vacancy rates and payroll employment using available responses from business locations sampled in the corresponding reference month. The reference period for the JVWS is the first day of the respective month.

These preliminary monthly estimates are revised and finalized when the corresponding quarterly estimates are released or shortly thereafter. Users are encouraged to use the most up-to-date data available for each month.

JVWS estimates are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter comparisons should be interpreted with caution as they may reflect seasonal movements. New experimental data adjusted for seasonality are derived from ongoing work to develop seasonally adjusted JVWS time series. Further information on this ongoing work is available on request.

While JVWS employment is calibrated to the SEPH, SEPH payroll employment and JVWS preliminary monthly employment figures may differ because of calibration grouping and differences in scope and reference period.

Labour Force Survey data used in this Daily release to calculate the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratios are non-seasonally adjusted (unless otherwise indicated).

Real-time data tables
Real-time data tables 14-10-0357-01, 14-10-0358-01, 14-10-0331-01 and 14-10-0332-01 will be updated on July 18, 2022.

Next release
Data on payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies for May 2022 will be released on July 28, 2022.

More information about the concepts and use of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours is available in the Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (Catalogue number72-203-G).

The product "Earnings and payroll employment in brief: Interactive app" (14-20-0001) is now available. This interactive data visualization application provides a comprehensive picture of the Canadian labour market using the most recent data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. The estimates are seasonally adjusted and available by province and largest industrial sector. Historical estimates going back 10 years are also included. The interactive application allows users to quickly and easily explore and personalize the information presented. Combine multiple provinces and industrial sectors to create your own labour market domains of interest.

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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