OTTAWA — Canada's surprisingly strong jobs growth of the past two months got some important validation Thursday from fresh data showing employers added 45,500 workers in August.

The news comes from the seldom reported payroll survey of companies that Statistics Canada conducts in conjunction with its better known labour market survey of households, which determines the country's unemployment rate.

The employers survey showed jobs have been added in each of the last six months and at a pace almost twice that tracked by the household report.

The survey also showed that average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose 3.6 per cent in the past year — three times the current rate of inflation — to $907.19.


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  • WORST: Administrative & support - down 3.2%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Wholesale trade - up 0.8%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Education - up 1.1%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Health care, social assistance - up 2%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Retail trade - up 3.3%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Manufacturing - up 3.5%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Construction - up 4.4%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Accommodation and food services - up 5%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

  • Professional, scientific & technical - up 7.4%

    Average earnings change, year to August, 2012. Source: StatsCan

"It does look strong,'' said David Madani, chief economist with Capital Economics. "I would agree this is stronger than one would expect for an economy that is growing at just under two per cent.''

In the past two months, Canada's statistical agency has surprised both markets and analysts with findings that the economy created 52,100 jobs in September, on top of the 34,300 added in August, wiping out losses the previous month.

That raised eyebrows among economists who pointed out that the labour survey is subject to wild monthly fluctuations, in part because it trusts individuals to self-report the employment status of the household.

The payroll data, called the SEPH, comes from a survey of employers. It gets less ink than the up-to-date labour market survey because it comes out about two months later, so is often treated as old news. It also does not include farm jobs and self-employment.

Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said the employer survey, although it too has an error factor, provides harder data and gives some ballast to the better known labour report.

But he added that currently both surveys appear out of step with the economy.

"There's a bit of jobs conundrum in the country right now,'' he said. ``The old rule of thumb that says, roughly speaking, jobs growth and GDP growth shouldn't stray too far apart is definitely being broken.''

"If the Bank of Canada is right and we only had one per cent growth in the third quarter, then why are we hiring all these people?''

The corollary is that the economy may not have been as weak as the Bank of Canada supposes and that the central bank may be correct in forecasting a growth spurt this quarter _ the October-December period _ that will continue to strengthen into the new year.

Madani has an opposite view, as does Holt. Both believe economic growth will stay below two per cent in 2013, against the central bank's call of a 2.3 per cent advance next year.

"There's margin of error in all these estimates,'' said Madani. ``I wish it could last because it actually (signals) pretty strong growth, but the underlying trend in the economy is just not consistent with that type of employment and average weekly earnings growth.''

The SEPH report for August found job gains in most sectors, including education, public administration, health-care and social assistance, mining and oil extraction and manufacturing. Construction jobs fell.

Average hours worked rose to 33.1 a week from 33.0 in July and 32.9 in June.

The biggest gains in weekly earrings were experienced in professional, scientific and technical services, in accommodation and food services and in construction, Statistics Canada said.

In the professional, scientific and technical services, average earnings were up 7.4 per cent to $1,273.60. Meanwhile, earnings increased five per cent to $374.54 in accommodation and food and were up 4.4 per cent to $1,144.43 in construction.

At the same time average weekly earnings in administrative and support services declined 3.2 per cent to $724.03 on an annual basis.

Earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in every province in the 12 months to August, with above-average gains in Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan.

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  • 7. Huge Regional Disparities

    Wood Mountain (includes oil rich Fort McMurray, pictured here) saw its employment level shoot up by 95% over the 2000 to 2011 period, while forestry based Miramichi suffered the biggest decline of 63% in job numbers.<br> <br> Two out of 33 Census Metropolitan Areas (Windsor and Thunder Bay) had fewer jobs in 2011 than in 2000 while 13 of 45 smaller cities were in this situation. In 2011, only 5.5% of the labour force in Wood Mountain were unemployed while 16.4% were unemployed in Miramichi.<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 6. Jobs Up, Wages Down

    The unemployment rate jumped from a near record low of 6.1% in October 2008 to a high of 8.7% high in August 2009 and has declined slowly since then to 7.2% in March 2012. In spite of the recovery, unemployment duration increased again in 2011.<br> <br> There was a another slight decrease in the number of discouraged job searchers in 2011, who just quit looking because they believed that nothing suitable was available, but their numbers were still 50% above pre-recession levels. Actual hours worked at all jobs advanced to 36.4 hours in 2011 up 24 minutes from the all-time low of 36 hours in 2009.<br> <br> Real (after removing inflation) average weekly wages fell by 0.5% in 2011 following an increase of only 0.2% in 2010. This helps explain why the number of workers who have more than one job climbed for a third straight year to a record 5.4% in 2011. Women (6.4%) are now more likely to have a second job than are men (4.5%) while both were the same (4.6%) in 1989.<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 5. Bad News For Working Parents

    In 2011, the employment rate for lone-parent mothers (55%), lone-parent fathers (79%) and mothers with an employed husband present (70%) all with children under the age of six continued to be below their prerecession peaks. The only exception in 2011 was for women with a non-employed husband for whom the employment rate (53%) was above the pre-recession rate.<br> <br> The "monetary" value of childcare remains undervalued. In 2011, childcare and home support workers working full-time (30 hours or more per week) earned an average of $598 per week. This was the third lowest behind full-time chefs and cooks ($545) and retail sales persons ($589). On a more detailed level, babysitters, nannies and parent helpers were the lowest paid occupation from among over 700 occupations in the 2006 Census.<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 4. Manufacturing Still Struggling

    After eight years of decline, the manufacturing sector created only 15,900 jobs in 2011. Employment in 2011 was about where it was in 1993 and down by 532,200 jobs since the peak in 2004.<br> <br> Based on employment growth over the 2000 to 2011 period, the most rapidly expanding industries in Canada were mining and oil and gas extraction (+70.3%) and construction (+56.4%). Other leading growth industries (all service related) included professional, scientific, technical services (+39.9%), health care and social assistance (+37.9%) and real estate and leasing (+30.1%). <br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 3. Labour Shortages

    For 2011 as a whole, eight (35%) out of the 23 major occupations were in a shortage situation, compared to six occupations in the previous year but still much less than the 10 occupations before the recession began. When examined from an industry basis, there were shortages in five (25%) of the 20 sectors in 2011, up from four during the previous year. <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate among professional occupations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses stood at only 0.8%. Unemployment was only 1.9% in technical, assisting and related occupations in health and in professional occupations in business and finance. Demographics point to more shortages in the medium-term.<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 2. Alberta - The Youth Job-Bringer

    Based on a ranking of 10 youth related indicators, Alberta was the best place for youth in 2011 followed by Saskatchewan in 2nd spot and Quebec in 3rd spot. Next in line were Manitoba (4th), Prince Edward Island (5th), British Columbia (6th), Ontario (7th), New Brunswick (8th), Newfoundland (9th) and Nova Scotia (10th).<br> <br> At the national level, recession is still the reality for youth. Youth employment plummeted by 195,400 jobs in 2009 and 2010 combined but only 19,300 jobs came back in 2011. In 2011, employment rates for all youth slipped further to 55.4% (lowest since 2000), was flat for returning students working in the summer (53.8%) but down a lot for full-time students who were working during the school year (36.6%). <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate improved slightly for all youth (14.2%) but worsened for returning students working in the summer (17.4%).<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 1. A Greying Workforce

    More and more seniors are working longer. The percentage of those aged 60-64 who are employed rose from 34% in 1989 to 47% in 2011 ... a new record. The percentage of those aged 65-69 who are still working jumped from 11% in 1989 to 23% in 2011 ... another new record. The percentage of the 70 and over group who are still working increased to 6% in 2011 ... one more record high. <br> <br> Over the 1989 to 2011 period, the labour force aged 45-54 more than doubled (+108%), those aged 55-64 also more than doubled (+133%) while those aged 65 and older grew even faster (+180%). <br> <br> The recession delayed retirement for many, as record numbers of persons 60 and older remained in the paid workforce. The median retirement age among men (63.2 years) rose for a third consecutive year in 2011 and was the highest since 2003. The median age of retirement among women increased to 61.4 years in 2011 and is the second highest since 1994.<br> <br> -- <a href="" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>