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Job vacancies, three-month average ending in March 2015

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Released: 2015-06-16

Canadian businesses reported 232,000 job vacancies in March, up 23,000 compared with 12 months earlier. For every job vacancy, there were 5.9 unemployed people, down from 6.7 in March 2014. This decline in the ratio was the result of both fewer unemployed people and more job vacancies.

Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio declines in four provinces

In Quebec, there were 6.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy, down from 10.0 in March 2014, as the number of unemployed people fell and the number of job vacancies increased.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015

Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table

The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in Ontario fell from 8.7 to 6.6 in the 12 months to March, the result of more job vacancies and fewer unemployed people in the province. In British Columbia, the ratio declined from 5.3 to 4.1 over the same period, as there were more job vacancies in the province.

The ratio in Prince Edward Island fell from 20.8 to 11.7 in the 12 months to March. The decline was due to more job vacancies in the province (see "Data quality" in the note to readers).

In Manitoba, the unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio rose from 3.2 in March 2014 to 4.9 in March 2015, as the number of job vacancies declined in the province. Conversely, in Alberta, the ratio increased from 2.4 to 3.8 over the same period, the result of more unemployed people and fewer job vacancies.

In the remaining provinces, the unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio was little changed compared with a year earlier.

Ratio by industrial sector

Analysis of the ratio of unemployed people to job vacancies by industrial sector is limited to those who last worked within the past 12 months, as unemployment data by sector are only available for these individuals.

Among the 10 largest industrial sectors, construction had the highest number of unemployed people for every vacancy in March, at 10.7, little changed from March 2014. Since unemployment patterns in this sector are seasonal, the ratio tends to be highest in the winter months and lowest in the summer.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015

Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table

In administrative and support services, the ratio declined from 7.5 to 5.2 in the 12 months to March, as the number of job vacancies increased faster than the number of unemployed people who last worked in this sector.

Health care and social assistance had a ratio of 0.9 unemployed people for every vacant job in March, down from 1.4 recorded 12 months earlier. This decline was due to more job vacancies in this sector.

The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in wholesale trade grew from 2.0 to 2.7 in the 12 months to March, the result of an increase in the number of unemployed people who last worked in this sector.

Among the smaller industrial sectors, the ratio in information and cultural industries fell from 3.0 in March 2014 to 1.8 in March 2015, as the number of unemployed people decreased. In finance and insurance, the ratio declined from 1.5 to 1.0, the result of more job vacancies in this sector.

Over the same period, the unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio increased from 4.6 to 8.5 in arts, entertainment and recreation and from 2.6 to 5.1 in 'other services,' as both sectors posted declines in the number of job vacancies.

There was little change in the ratio among the remaining industrial sectors.

Job vacancy rates

Data from this survey are also used to calculate the job vacancy rate, which is defined as the number of vacant positions divided by total labour demand, that is, occupied positions plus vacant positions. It corresponds to the share of jobs that are unfilled out of all payroll jobs available. Higher job vacancy rates are often associated with periods of economic growth, while lower rates may be associated with periods of slower growth or economic contraction.

In March, the national job vacancy rate among Canadian businesses was 1.6%, up from 1.4% recorded 12 months earlier.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table
Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015

Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, March 2014 and March 2015 - Description and data table

The job vacancy rate changed in six provinces in the 12 months to March.

From March 2014 to March 2015, the rate increased from 1.5% to 1.9% in British Columbia, from 1.0% to 1.7% in Prince Edward Island, from 1.2% to 1.7% in Quebec and from 1.1% to 1.4% in Ontario.

On the other hand, the ratio declined from 2.4% to 1.8% in Alberta and from 2.1% to 1.4% in Manitoba.

Job vacancy rates by sector

Compared with 12 months earlier, the job vacancy rate grew in three industrial sectors, fell in five and was little changed in the other sectors.

Health care and social assistance had a rate of 2.8% in March, up from 1.6% a year earlier. The sector had 51,000 job vacancies in March.

In administrative and support services, the job vacancy rate grew from 1.1% to 2.2% in the 12 months to March, and there were 17,000 job vacancies in March. Finance and insurance had a rate of 2.0% in March, up from 1.1% a year earlier. This sector had 14,000 vacancies.

In the 12 months to March, the rate in arts, entertainment and recreation declined from 2.4% to 1.4%. This sector had 3,400 vacant positions.

In professional, scientific and technical services, the job vacancy rate declined from 1.9% to 1.4% in the 12-month period, and there were 12,000 job vacancies in the sector in March. The rate also fell from 1.9% to 1.4% in transportation and warehousing, with the sector recording 11,000 job vacancies.

Over the same period, the job vacancy rate in 'other services' decreased from 1.9% to 1.1%, and the sector had 5,800 job vacancies in March. The rate declined in regional and Aboriginal public administration, from 1.4% to 1.1%, with the sector recording 5,100 job vacancies.




  Note to readers

Revised job vacancy statistics have been available since April 21, 2015.The Job Vacancy Statistics data series were historically revised back to 2011. This is the result of revisions to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours data, which are the source for payroll employment statistics, as well as revisions to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which are the source for unemployment data.

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 similar to that of the BPS and includes all employers in Canada, except those primarily involved in: agriculture; fishing and trapping; private household services; religious organizations; and the military personnel of the defense services. Unlike the BPS, federal, provincial and territorial public administration subsectors are also excluded.

With each release, estimates for the current reference month are subject to revision. Estimates for the previous month were revised. 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.

To address sampling variability, only differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence interval are discussed in this analysis.

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 relatively new data series, long-term 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 there are 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 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 work during the previous 12 months. Unemployment data by sector are 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.

Job vacancies data for April will be released on July 21.

More information about the concepts and use of Job Vacancy Statistics is available online in the Guide to Job Vacancy Statistics (Catalogue number72-210-G) from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; emmanuelle.bourbeau@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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