Indicator: Average earnings

In 2017, average earnings in the forest industry decreased slightly from 2016 levels.

  • Despite the slight decrease in 2017 (–0.6%), forest industry earnings remain 4.9% higher than they were five years ago.
  • While average earnings in wood product manufacturing increased 5.8% in 2017 over 2016 levels, forestry and logging earnings and pulp and paper manufacturing earnings decreased by 1.3% and 4.8%, respectively, likely because of reduced activity in these segments.
  • Overall, the forest industry continues to outcompete average earnings for all manufacturing, which declined 1.7% between 2016 and 2017.

Average earnings refers to the average net annual income per person directly employed in the forest industry, not including overtime pay.

Average earnings in the forest industry compared with all manufacturing sectors, 2007–2017

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Graph data
Table displays the average income in Canadian dollars (2007) for workers in the forest industry subsectors: forestry and logging, wood product manufacturing, pulp and paper product manufacturing compared with all manufacturing sectors for each year between 2007 and 2017.
Year Forestry and logging Pulp and paper product manufacturing Wood product manufacturing All manufacturing
2007 44,411 52,608 40,995 45,795
2008 44,971 50,965 40,989 45,756
2009 41,071 50,479 39,647 44,667
2010 44,771 55,229 40,561 45,609
2011 44,682 55,094 41,277 45,111
2012 44,578 54,620 42,484 45,427
2013 46,401 55,623 42,286 45,907
2014 45,212 51,398 41,903 46,097
2015 47,509 55,597 43,086 47,146
2016 47,361 57,720 43,719 47,039
2017 46,740 54,976 46,251 46,247

Why is this indicator important?

  • Trends in forest industry average earnings indicate the importance of the industry to the economy and to the social well-being of Canadians, especially when compared with average earnings in other industries.
  • Real wage growth (meaning wage growth that isn’t the result of inflation) shows the change in actual purchasing power of forest industry employees.

What is the outlook?

  • Average earnings in pulp and paper manufacturing experienced growth between 2014 and 2016 but could now be negatively affected by adverse market conditions and trade disputes.
  • Average earnings in the forestry and logging sub-sector and the wood product manufacturing sub-sector should continue to be stable or increase over the next few years.
  • Earnings in the forest industry could be increased by filling the demand for highly skilled workers and by creating new highly skilled and highly paid positions in the bioeconomy.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information
  • Statistics Canada. CANSIM table 281-0027: Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), average weekly earnings by type of employee overtime status and detailed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) (accessed April 10, 2018).
  • Statistics Canada. CANSIM table 326-0020: Consumer Price Index (accessed April 10, 2018).
    • Additional information can be found at:
      • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service. Industry – Overview.
      • Data exclude overtime.
      • Previous issues of The State of Canada’s Forests calculated real average earnings using GDP at market prices as the measure of inflation. This year, the Consumer Price Index (including volatile commodities) was used because it is a better indicator of the spending power of Canadians.