04/25/2013 01:31 EDT | Updated 06/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadians earning more than last year, StatsCan says

Employees across Canada are earning bigger gross pay than they did a year ago, but earnings of people working in the accommodation and food services sector have dropped, according to Statistics Canada.

The findings, released Thursday, come from the agency's latest survey of employment, payrolls and hours. Statistics Canada looked at the level of earnings as well as the number of jobs and hours worked by payroll employees across the country, excluding farm workers.

Average weekly earnings for all employees surveyed was $909 in February, up 3.1 per cent from the year before.

Construction workers, particularly those working in utility systems and non-residential construction, saw the largest growth, with average weekly earnings at $1,166, up 4.6 per cent from last February.

In public administration, weekly earnings rose 4.3 per cent to $1,173, mainly due to local, municipal and regional public administration.

Workers in administrative and support services as well as professional, scientific and technical services also saw relatively large increases in earnings at 4.1 per cent and four per cent respectively.

The growth reflects a number of factors, says Statistics Canada, including an increase in wages and in the average number of hours worked each week. Employees worked slightly more hours per week — 32.9 hours this year compared to 32.8 hours in 2012.

Last year also saw a rise in minimum wage in four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

Of the 10 largest industries studied, accommodation and food services was the only one to see a drop in earnings. Workers in this sector took home on average $360 a week, 0.4 per cent less than last year.

The survey includes data for all hourly and salaried employees, as well as piece-rate and commission-only workers. The data is based on earnings before taxes and deductions and includes overtime pay.