StatsCan’s latest payroll report has more bad news for the domestic job market, with data for December showing the number of jobs declining by about 19,000.

But despite the weakness in the job market at the end of 2012, Canadians generally saw healthy increases in wages over the course of the year, averaging 2.8 per cent and far exceeding the recent inflation rate.

The wage gains weren’t evenly spread. Some areas such as management and health care saw average wages jump more than 5 per cent, while some industries stagnated — retail saw only a 0.9 per cent increase, likely below inflation.

Some of the strongest performers were also among the least expected. The long-suffering forestry and manufacturing sectors saw some of the biggest gains (9.5 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively), but that could simply be because they are “bouncing back” from very deep slumps.

On a brighter note, the Conference Board of Canada’s Help Wanted Index suggests job creation picked up in February, following several months of shrinking numbers. The report saw 25 of 27 Canadian metro areas picking up pace, with only two metro areas — St. Catharines-Niagara Falls, Ont., and Sherbrooke, Que. — not showing any significant job growth.

Check out the 10 industries with the fastest wage gains in Canada over the past year.

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  • Construction - up 2.2%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Transportation and warehousing - up 2.2%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Professional, scientific & technical - up 3.2%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Public administration - up 3.3%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Mining, oil and gas - up 4.6%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Manufacturing - up 4.8%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Health care - up 5.1%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Management - up 6.2%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Forestry - up 9.5%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>

  • Information & cultural industries - up 9.5%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130226/t130226a001-eng.htm">StatsCan</a>