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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Alexander Chute Economist
Tel: 902-424-5810Email:

March 02, 2018

Nova Scotia's seasonally adjusted employee compensation (wages+salaries+employer social contributions) increased 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter 2017 to $5.79 billion. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 compensation was up 4.2 per cent. The fourth quarter is the third consecutive quarter in which employee compensation grew by at least 3 per cent year over year, the last time this occurred was in 2011.

The wages and salaries portion of employee compensation was up 0.7 per cent at $4.94 billion; an increase of 4.4 per cent over the same quarter in 2016. Employers' social contributions increased 0.6 per cent in the quarter and was 3.0 per cent higher than the fourth quarter 2016.


For the quarter, Canada's employee compensation was up 1.5 per cent as compensation increased or was unchanged in all provinces.  The fastest growth for the month was in Ontario at 1.9 per cent.

Comparing 2017 with 2016, Canada's employee compensation was up 3.9 per cent. Nova Scotia's employee compensation was up 3.0 per cent, the fastest pace since 2011 when growth was 3.2 per cent. British Columbia with growth of 5.7 per cent had the fastest growth while Newfoundland and Labrador at 1.2 per cent had the slowest.

Seasonally unadjusted data comparing 2017 with 2016 have total wages and salaries increasing 3.2 per cent in Nova Scotia. The total wages and salaries paid in the goods sector rose by 4.7 per cent.  Wages and salaries were up in all goods subsectors led by growth in mining and oil and gas extraction (+8.1%) and utilities (+6.0%). The larger sector of construction (+5.6%) and manufacturing (+3.8%) accounted for most of the dollar increase in the goods sector.

Three private service sectors reported rising wages and salaries while two reported a decline. The largest gains were reported in the professional/personal services sector sectors where total wages and salaries rose 4.8 per cent (+$137 million), while the largest decline was in information and cultural where total wages and salaries fell 1.4 per cent.  

Among public and mixed public-private sectors, military total wages and salaries increased by 8.0 per cent and federal public administration increased 4.4 per cent in part due to retroactive salary payments. Total wages and salaries were also up in educational services (+4.0%) and health care and social assistance (+2.9%) with smaller increases in provincial and local public administration. 

Note: comparison of wages and salaries by sector rely on data that are neither seasonally adjusted nor adjusted to reflect differences in pay periods from one year to the next.

Source: CANSIM table 382-0006

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