Paycheques got a bit bigger in December

Statistics Canada said the average weekly salary for Canadian workers hit $908 in December, a 0.3 per cent increase from the previous month and 2.8 per cent higher than a year ago.

Length of average work week unchanged at 32.8 hours over previous 12 months

The average Canadian weekly salary increased 2.8 per cent in 2012, well ahead of the rate of inflation.

The average weekly paycheque of a non-farm Canadian employee was $908 in December, a 0.3 per cent increase from the previous month and 2.8 per cent higher than a year ago.

Statistics Canada released data Tuesday showing Canadians' pay packets got slightly larger at the end of 2012. And the fatter paycheques didn't just come because of working longer. The data agency says the average work week came in at 32.8 hours during the month, down slightly from 33.1 hours in November but unchanged from where it was a year earlier.

Statistics Canada monitors what it calls 'non-farm payroll employees' in part because agricultural and other workers have fluctuating employment trends which skews the data.

The 2.8 per cent increase more than outpaces the current inflation rate. Last week the data agency revealed the cost of living only increased by 0.5 per cent in the year ended January.

By sector, wage gains were highest among professional, scientific and technical services workers, followed by health care and social assistance workers, then those in the manufacturing industry.

Across all industries, average pay packets were highest in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas sector, where workers took in an average of $1,881 per week — a 4.6 per cent increase from the level of a year ago.

And by province, seven of 10 Canadian provinces posted higher-than-average wage gains, with Saskatchewan leading the way with a five per cent average salary increase over the previous 12 months.