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Job vacancies, Three-month average ending in March 2013

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Released: 2013-06-18

There were 221,000 job vacancies among Canadian businesses in March, down 24,000 from March 2012. There were 6.4 unemployed people for every job vacancy, up from 5.9 a year earlier, as the decline in vacancies was at a faster pace than the decline in unemployment.

Ratio by province

Provincially, Newfoundland and Labrador had the most notable increase in the unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, going from 16.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy in March 2012 to 21.8 in March 2013. The rise in the ratio was because the number of job vacancies in the province declined while the number of unemployed people was little changed.

The ratio in Prince Edward Island rose from 8.5 to 10.4 over this same period. Alberta's unemployment to job vacancies ratio also went up, from 1.8 to 2.3, as the number of job vacancies fell faster than the number of unemployed people. Despite the increase in Alberta's ratio, it remains among the lowest of all provinces.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013

Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table

In Saskatchewan, the ratio declined from 2.8 unemployed people for every job vacancy to 1.9, all a result of fewer unemployed people in the province.

In Ontario, there were 8.8 unemployed people for every job vacancy and in Quebec, the ratio was 7.5. These ratios were little changed from 12 months earlier. The ratios in the remaining provinces were also little changed compared with March 2012.

Ratio by sector

Construction had the highest number of unemployed people for every vacancy among the large industrial sectors, at 14.3 in March, up from 9.8 in March 2012. The increase was all a result of a decline in the number of job vacancies in this sector.

Manufacturing had a ratio of 6.5 unemployed people for every vacant job in March, up from 5.2 a year earlier, as there were fewer vacancies in this sector.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within past 12 months, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within past 12 months, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013

Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within past 12 months, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table

The ratio in transportation and warehousing declined from 3.7 in March 2012 to 2.6 in March 2013, all a result of more job vacancies in the sector.

Health care and social assistance had a ratio of 1.1 in March, the lowest of all industrial sectors. This ratio was little changed from 12 months earlier.

Among the smaller industrial sectors, the ratio for arts, entertainment and recreation fell from 10.8 to 6.6 over the 12-month period, as the number of job vacancies increased at a faster pace than the number of unemployed people who last worked in this sector.

Job vacancy rates

The national job vacancy rate among Canadian businesses was 1.5% in March, down from 1.7% a year earlier.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table
Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013

Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2012 and March 2013 - Description and data table

Provincially, the job vacancy rate declined in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, and was little changed elsewhere. In Alberta, the job vacancy rate declined from 3.4% to 2.5%. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it decreased from 1.2% to 0.9%, the lowest of all provinces.

Job vacancy rates by sector

Compared with 12 months earlier, the job vacancy rate increased in two sectors, declined in eight and was little changed for the other sectors.

Arts, entertainment and recreation had 6,300 job vacancies and a job vacancy rate of 2.7% in March, up from 1.3% in March 2012. The transportation and warehousing sector also saw its rate increase, from 1.6% to 2.2% over this same period, with 15,000 job vacancies as of March 2013.

The job vacancy rate in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction declined from 3.5% to 1.7% in the 12 months to March, the largest decline of all sectors. Finance and insurance saw its rate decline from 1.9% to 1.1%, with 7,700 vacancies in March 2013, and the vacancy rate in construction fell from 1.9% to 1.3% with 11,000 vacancies.

There were also rate declines in information and culture; manufacturing; both retail and wholesale trade; as well as regional and Aboriginal public administration.

The lowest job vacancy rate by sector was in educational services, at 0.4% in March 2013, with 5,000 job vacancies in this sector.




  Note to readers

Estimates of job vacancies are collected through the monthly Business Payrolls Survey (BPS). Starting with the January 2011 reference month, two questions were added to the BPS, which is the survey portion of the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours. These questions were: Did you have any vacant positions on the last business day of the month, and how many?

The target population is the same as that of the BPS and is comprised of all employers in Canada, except those primarily involved in: agriculture; fishing and trapping; private household services; religious organizations; the military personnel of the defense services; and federal, provincial and territorial public administration.

With each release, estimates for the current reference month are subject to revision. Estimates have been revised for the previous month. Users are encouraged to request and use the most up-to-date estimates for each month.

Data quality

Job vacancy and unemployment estimates are based on samples, and are therefore subject to sampling variability. Estimates for geographic areas and industries with smaller numbers of vacancies or smaller unemployed populations are subject to greater sampling variability.

Job vacancy, labour demand and unemployment estimates and their accompanying rates are not seasonally adjusted and should only be compared on a year-over-year basis. Given this is a new data series, trends are not yet available and therefore, data should be interpreted with caution.

All estimates are based on three-month moving averages. For example, estimates for the current month are based on an average of the estimates from the current month and the previous two months.

Definitions

Job vacancy/vacant position: A position is considered "vacant" if it meets all three of the following conditions: a specific position exists; work could start within 30 days; and the employer is actively seeking employees from outside the organization to fill the position.

Labour demand: Total labour demand is the sum of met (total payroll employment) and unmet (vacant positions) labour demand.

Largest industrial sectors: The sectors with the largest levels of payroll employment for which we have publishable job vacancy data.

Job vacancy rate: The number of vacant positions divided by total labour demand, that is, occupied positions plus vacant positions.

Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratios

All unemployed: The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio for all unemployed is calculated by dividing the total number of unemployed, regardless of their previous work experience, using Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, by the number of vacant positions. This ratio reflects how many unemployed individuals are available for each vacant position and is a measure of the overall labour market tightness.

By sector: For each sector, the ratio is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed who last worked in that sector in the previous 12 months, using LFS data, by the number of vacant positions in the same sector. This excludes new entrants to the labour market as well as unemployed people who had not worked during the previous 12 months. Unemployment data by sector is known only for those who worked within the previous 12 months.

Use of estimates for the last sector worked does not imply that these unemployed individuals continued to look for work in that sector. This ratio reflects how many unemployed individuals who last worked in that sector are available for each vacant position in the sector. It is a measure of the labour market tightness within that sector.

The next job vacancies release, for April, will be on July 16.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jason Gilmore (613-951-7118; jason.gilmore@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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