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Indicator: Average earnings

In 2018, average earnings in the forest sector decreased 3.9% compared to 2017.

  • Overall, average earnings in the forest sector remain higher than earnings in the total manufacturing sector.
  • Average earnings decreased by 8.8% in wood product manufacturing and by 5.1% in pulp and paper manufacturing in 2018. Average earnings in forestry and logging increased by 2.2% in 2018. Average earnings in the total manufacturing sector declined 2.3% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Average earnings in the forest sector have generally improved since 2009. In recent years, Canada’s forest sector has faced many challenges, including trade disputes. In 2018, these challenges, coupled with decreasing commodity prices, affected earnings in forest products manufacturing.

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, 2008–2018

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Graph summary

The average earnings from pulp and paper product manufacturing decreased from 2008 to 2009, increased from 2009 to 2010, remained stable from 2010 to 2013, decreased from 2013 to 2014, increased from 2014 to 2016 where it peaked and has been in decline from 2016 to present. The average earnings from pulp and paper product manufacturing is always higher than the average earnings from all manufacturing. The average earnings from forestry and logging decreased from 2008 to 2009 and increased from 2009 to present with small declines in 2011, 2014 and 2017. The average earnings from pulp and paper product manufacturing after 2009 has been hovering near the average earning from all manufacturing but as of 2018, the average earning from forestry and logging is higher than the average earnings from all manufacturing. The average earnings from wood product manufacturing decreased from 2008 to 2009, increased from 2009 to 2017 with a slight decline from 2013 to 2014 and has decreased from 2017 to present. The average earnings from wood product manufacturing after has always been lower than the average from all manufacturing.

Graph data
Table below displays the average income in 2012 Canadian dollars 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 2008 and 2018.
Year Forestry and logging Pulp and paper product manufacturing Wood product manufacturing All manufacturing
2008 49,129 55,677 44,779 49,986
2009 44,868 55,147 43,313 48,797
2010 48,910 60,335 44,311 49,826
2011 48,813 60,188 45,093 49,282
2012 48,700 59,670 46,413 49,627
2013 50,691 60,766 46,196 50,152
2014 49,392 56,150 45,777 50,359
2015 51,901 60,738 47,070 51,505
2016 51,740 63,057 47,762 51,389
2017 51,063 60,059 50,528 50,535
2018 52,166 57,013 46,098 49,394

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 is not the result of inflation) shows the change in actual purchasing power of forest industry employees.

What is the outlook?

  • Canada’s economic growth is predicted to slow in 2019 and declining commodity prices could adversely impact forest sector earnings in the short term.
  • The pulp and paper segment of the forest sector has experienced sporadic growth in average earnings, but has declined in the last two years and could continue to be negatively affected by declining market conditions. Conversely, improving lumber prices, which are expected to increase in the near to mid-term, could positively affect average earnings in wood product manufacturing.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

  • Montreal Process (MP): 6.3.b [Select language]
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 8.5.1
Sources and information
  • Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0204-01 (formerly CANSIM 281-0027): Average weekly earnings by industry, annual. (accessed April 3, 2019).
  • Statistics Canada. Table 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021): Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted. (accessed April 3, 2019).
    • Additional information can be found at Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service. Industry – Overview.
    • The data excludes overtime.
    • The 2018 average earnings were calculated using the Consumer Price Index re-based to 2012 values. Data from years prior to 2018 were updated as well and will differ from what was reported in previous reports.
    • Issues of The State of Canada’s Forests prior to 2018 calculated real average earnings using GDP at market prices as the measure of inflation. In this report, the Consumer Price Index (including volatile commodities) was used again because it is a better indicator of the spending power of Canadians.
 

Table of contents — The State of Canada's Forests Report

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