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Statistics Canada published payroll data for January today, which it says will serve as a benchmark for monitoring the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.

In its payroll data release today, the national statistical agency said that it’s closely monitoring the impacts of the outbreak on employment, earnings and hours worked in Canada.

“In January, there was no impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on estimates for average weekly earnings, payroll employment and hours worked,” it said, noting that, while the virus had been detected in January, it hadn’t yet developed into a pandemic.

StatsCan said that signs of the outbreak may start to show up in the data for February, but the data for March will captures the broader effects.

Additionally, the Labour Force Survey will provide insight into the impact on employment. The next release of that data, which is scheduled for April 9, will cover the period from March 15 to 21.

“While the landscape of the labour market has shifted since January, data from the beginning of the year are important in monitoring when and where changes occur over the following months,” StatsCan said. “As such, this release serves as a benchmark for measuring the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.”

That data showed that average weekly earnings for non-farm payroll employees rose by 0.6% from the previous month, and were up 4.0% from the previous year.

Average weekly earnings grew in nine of the 10 largest industrial sectors, and the number of payroll employees increased by 1.7% from the year earlier.