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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

June 25, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, comparisons of year-to-date averages and sums do not show Nova Scotia’s rapidly changing economic situation.  The DailyStats will focus on year-over-year comparisons, comparing one month with the same month in the prior year. Where possible the DailyStats will make comparisons of seasonally adjusted data from the pre-COVID-19 period (January and February 2020) with the period during which COVID-19 measures were in place from March 2020 onwards.

Nova Scotians' average weekly earnings (including overtime, seasonally adjusted) increased 7.0 per cent ($65.15) from March 2020 to $993.81 in April 2020. Average weekly wages were up 11.2 per cent compared with April 2019. Canadians' average weekly wages increased 6.1 per cent month to month ($1,112.22 in April) and were 9.1 per cent higher than they were a year ago.

Changes in average weekly earnings reflect wage growth, changes in the composition of employment by industry/occupation/experience, and average hours worked per week.

Across the country, there are monthly increases in all provinces, with the largest increases in Manitoba (+8.6 per cent) and British Columbia (+7.5 per cent). The slowest monthly increases were observed in Quebec (+5.0 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.1 per cent).

Compared to a year ago, average wages were higher in all provinces, with the largest increases in percentage terms reported in Prince Edward Island (+12.5 per cent), British Columbia (+11.6 per cent) and Nova Scotia (+11.2 per cent). The slowest year-over-year growth in average weekly earnings was observed in Saskatchewan (+7.7per cent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (+4.9 per cent).

In April 2020 (compared to April 2019), average weekly earnings were up 4.7 per cent in Nova Scotia's goods producing sectors. Goods sector wages were up for manufacturing and construction sectors. Service sector average earnings were up 12.8 per cent in April 2020. Service sector earnings increased the most in percentage terms in arts, entertainment & recreation (+38.9 per cent), administration and support services (+12.5 per cent), information & culture (+9.4 per cent), and other (except public administration) (+9.3 per cent). the slowest increase in service sector earnings were in real estate/rental & leasing (+2.7 per cent) and transportation and warehousing (+1.9 per cent). 


Nova Scotia had 366,290 payroll employees in April, a decrease of 10.4 per cent compared to last month, and down 13.3 per cent compared to last April. Canada had 14.3 million employees, a decrease of 11.4 per cent compared to last month and down 15.6 per cent compared to a year ago.

Nova Scotia's payroll employment has been trending upwards since 2017 and declined sharply in recent months due to COVID-19.

Compared to April 2019, Nova Scotia's payroll employment is down 13.3 per cent. Nationally, payroll employment is down 15.6 per cent in April 2020, with all provinces reporting decreases. The fastest payroll employment decline has been observed in Quebec (-18.1 per cent) followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (-16.8 per cent), Alberta (-16.3 per cent), and British Columbia (-15.9 per cent).  

In April 2020, payroll employment was down 15.9 per cent in Nova Scotia's goods producing sectors. Goods sector payroll employment was down for manufacturing and construction sectors compared to April 2019. Service sector employment was down 12.4 per cent in April 2020 compared to April 2019. Service sector payroll employment decreased the most in percentage terms in accommodation and food services (-46.4 per cent), arts/entertainment/recreation (-37.8 per cent) and other (except public administration) (-21.0 per cent). There was only payroll employment increase in finance and insurance (+1.0) per cent.

REFERENCE TABLES - (April 2020 vs April 2019)

Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Employment, Payroll, and Hours. Table 14-10-0223-01, 14-10-0222-01

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