12/22/2011 09:30 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

Canadian salary increases lag inflation rate

The average weekly paycheque of Canadian workers on salaries was $885.36 in October, 2.7 per cent higher compared to the same month a year earlier.

Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the figure was 1.4 per cent higher than it was the month before, but close to three per cent higher on a yearly basis.

The agency reported earlier this week that Canada's inflation rate held steady at 2.9 per cent in November, which means the cost of living is going up slightly faster than people's paycheques.

The modest salary increase wasn't due to people working more; it was a genuine increase in the hourly rate of pay, because the average work week held steady at 33 hours during the month.

Pay hikes were highest in:

- Finance and insurance.

- Education.

- Real estate and rental leasing.

- Utilities.

- Mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction.

- Manufacturing.

Regionally, average earnings rose in every province, led by growth in Newfoundland and Labrador at close to 7.7 per cent, followed by Alberta at 4.5. The lowest rate of growth was in Nova Scotia, at less than 0.4 per cent.

Non-farm payroll employment declined by 24,500 jobs from September to October, but over the 12-month period to the end of October, the number of employees still rose by 228,900, or 1.5 per cent.