Average Canadian worker earned $971 a week at the end of last year – Business

The average weekly paycheque for non-farm workers was $971 in December, Statistics Canada says, a figure that has grown by 1.2 per cent last year but belies wide differences between types of workers.

Workers in information and cultural industries saw their pay packets increase the most, on average, up by more than 10 per cent last year to $1,350.48 a week.

Those in finance and insurance also did well, with their average weekly paycheque up 10 per cent last year to $1,342.15.

Neither sector, however, lays claim to the highest-paid workers, on average. That belongs to those in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, who saw their weekly paycheques increase 5.1 per cent last year to $2,096.62.

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At the other end of the spectrum were the almost two million Canadians who work in retail, and the more than 1.2 million Canadians who work in accommodation and food services. Those two sectors are already the two lowest paid, on average, in the country. And both saw their average weekly earnings decrease further last year.

The typical retail worker earned $566.17 a week in December. That’s declined by 2.1 per cent in the past 12 months. And those in accommodation and food service fared even worse, earning $373.12 a week in December, down 1.9 per cent.

Both sectors are adding jobs — up 15,000 and 30,000 respectively — but shrinking wages for the people who get those jobs are a troubling sign. More people work in retail than in any other sector. Accommodation and food, meanwhile, is the fifth most common job category in Canada.

Other data from the statistics agency suggests Canada’s work force is shifting toward more part-time work and self-employment, two trends that aren’t leading to prosperity for workers who were having a tough enough go as it is.

Nor are wage gains coming evenly across the country. While all but two provinces saw average weekly paycheques…

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