Services employ the greatest number of Canadians and account for the largest share of the nation's GDP. Some 10.4 million Canadians are employed in the sector, which also accounts for two-thirds of small businesses and the self-employed. Since 1976, employment in services has increased by 46.5 percent. With 1.7 million employees, retail is the number-one employer in the service sector. Retail is followed by business services at 1.3 million, personal services at 1 million, transportation and communications at 980,000, and financial services with 789,000. Financial services is the highest paying employment category in the sector. Workers in this field earn an average of Can$700 per week while retail workers only average Can$350 per week. The average overall wage in the services sector is Can$580 per week.
The wholesale, retail, and food service sectors are very similar to their counterparts in the American economy. In fact, American retail stores and restaurants are common throughout most of Canada. The banking and financial services sector is also very comparable to that of the United States. Finally, Canada is the number-one foreign destination for American tourists. These close ties between the service sectors of the 2 nations mean that Canadian companies watch the development of new services, products, and techniques in the United States very closely.