Telecom services continue to do well in the Canadian economy, with prices hovering below the national average and salaries remaining constant. These are among the key findings of Industry Canada’s most recent version of Telecommunications Service in Canada: An Industry Overview. The survey found that telecom as a percentage of national GDP continues to grow, increasing from 1.8% in 1997 to 2.7% last year. In 2002, the telecom GDP (value added) was $26 billion, an increase from the $23.9 billion of a year earlier. "From 1998 to 2002, growth in telecommunications services GDP consistently out-performed overall economic growth," the study notes. "For example, in 2002, telecommunications services growth exceeded that of the economy by 5.7 percentage points, despite falling from 13% in 2001 to 8.8% in 2002." The number of people employed by telcos remained fairly constant over the last few years. The industry had 111,600 workers in 1997; around 113,000 in 1998 and 1999; 116,000 three years ago; and around 118,000 in 2001 and 2002. The number of employees as a percentage of the Canadian total was 1% in 1997 and 1998 and 0.9% for all the other years of the survey. The average salary in the telecom industry was higher than that of the overall Canadian economy. Last year telecom workers earned an average of $45,845, up slightly from the $45,079 of 2001. That is about $10,000 more than the Canadian average, or a difference of 29%. As other studies have found, capex in the telecom sector continues to fall. Last year, total capex for wireline and wireless services was $5.7 billion. That marks a fall of 26% from the $7.7 billion recorded in 2001. Even when the $1.5 billion in spectrum expenditures is subtracted from the equation, telcos spent less on capex in 2002 than they did a year earlier. The total spent last year was only fractionally higher than the $5.5 billion laid out in 1997. While prices for telecom services were above the national average in the late 1990s, they leveled out in 1999 and have remained below the Canadian norm in subsequent years. Statistics Canada uses a formula of setting the consumer price index of 1992 at 100. All numbers are expressed in comparison to that scale. In 2002, telecom services were listed at 117.2 while the national average for all items was 119. That widens the gap from the previous year, when telecom registered at 115.8 against a Canadian average of 116.4.