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Job vacancies, third quarter 2019

Released: 2019-12-17

Highlights

On a year-over-year basis, growth in the number of job vacancies slowed and the job vacancy rate held steady in the third quarter.

The number of job vacancies was up in three provinces and one territory: Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon. Vacancies declined in Alberta and British Columbia.

Job vacancy increases in retail trade and health care and social assistance were partially offset by decreases in manufacturing and transportation and warehousing.

In the third quarter, employers reported using social media as a recruitment tool for more than half of all vacancies.

Job vacancy growth slows and job vacancy rate holds steady

There were 562,900 job vacancies in the third quarter, up 12,200 (+2.2%) from the same quarter a year earlier. This was the slowest pace of year-over-year growth in job vacancies since the third quarter of 2016.

From the second to the third quarter of 2019, the number of vacancies decreased by 18,700 (-3.2%) (unadjusted for seasonality). By comparison, job vacancies held steady from the second to the third quarter in 2018 and increased slightly over those quarters in 2016 and 2017.

The job vacancy rate represents the number of job vacancies expressed as a percentage of labour demand; that is, the sum of all occupied and vacant jobs.

On a year-over-year basis, the job vacancy rate held steady at 3.3% in the third quarter of 2019, as total payroll employment and job vacancies grew at a similar rate. This was the first quarter without a year-over-year increase in the job vacancy rate since the third quarter of 2016.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Year-over-year job vacancy growth slows in third quarter of 2019, unadjusted for seasonality
Year-over-year job vacancy growth slows in third quarter of 2019, unadjusted for seasonality

Job vacancies and job vacancy rate up in three provinces and one territory

From the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, both the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate grew in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, as well as in Yukon. At the same time, declines were recorded in Alberta and British Columbia. There was little change in either the number of vacancies or the job vacancy rate in the remaining provinces and territories.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Among the provinces, year-over-year job vacancy growth in Quebec and some Atlantic provinces partially offset by declines in Alberta and British Columbia, third quarter of 2019
Among the provinces, year-over-year job vacancy growth in Quebec and some Atlantic provinces partially offset by declines in Alberta and British Columbia, third quarter of 2019

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there were 20.4% (+800) more vacancies reported in the third quarter of 2019 compared with one year earlier, the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in vacancies. Increases were recorded in two of the province's economic regions (ERs): Avalon Peninsula (+18.5% or +500) and West Coast–Northern Peninsula–Labrador (+41.7% or +400). At the same time, the job vacancy rate in the province increased by 0.3 percentage points to 2.2%, although it remained the lowest among the provinces and territories.

The number of job vacancies in Nova Scotia increased by 16.2% (+1,900) in the third quarter compared with the same quarter of 2018, driven by gains in the Halifax ER (+23.5% or +1,500). By sector, the increase in vacancies was primarily in retail trade and health care and social assistance. Over the same period, the job vacancy rate in the province rose by 0.4 percentage points to 3.2%.

In Quebec, the number of job vacancies was up by 16.2% (+19,100) compared with the third quarter of 2018. Increases were spread across several industrial sectors, with nearly half accounted for by retail trade and health care and social assistance. Within the province, vacancy increases were recorded in many ERs, led by Montréal (+4,900 or +12.5%), Capitale-Nationale (+3,700 or +30.3%) and Montérégie (+3,500 or +18.2%). At the same time, the job vacancy rate in Quebec rose by 0.4 percentage points to 3.6%. Various other indicators point to strong labour market conditions in Quebec in the third quarter of 2019, including a low unemployment rate and unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio, as well as above-average payroll employment growth.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of job vacancies in Alberta decreased by 10.0% (-5,900). Decreases were spread across the province, with declines in five of the seven ERs. The reduction in total vacancies was concentrated in three sectors. A little less than half of the decrease was accounted for by mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction and by construction—both sectors where payroll employment declined over the period. At the same time, the health care and social assistance sector, which saw an increase in payroll employment, represented a further one-third of the reduction in total vacancies. On a year-over-year basis, the job vacancy rate in Alberta fell by 0.3 percentage points to 2.6%, while the unemployment rate (as recorded in the LFS) was little changed at 7.2% in the third quarter of 2019.

Employers in British Columbia reported a decline in job vacancies of 3.9% (-4,300) in the third quarter compared with the same quarter in 2018, the first year-over-year decline in vacancies since the first quarter of 2016. Decreases were concentrated in the construction sector. Regionally, the decrease in vacancies was primarily due to declines in the Lower Mainland–Southwest ER, which includes Vancouver. Fewer vacancies were also reported in the Northeast and Cariboo ERs. On a year-over-year basis, the job vacancy rate in British Columbia declined by 0.3 percentage points to 4.5% in the third quarter of 2019, although it remained the highest among the provinces. At the same time, LFS results show that the unemployment rate held steady at 4.8%.

In Ontario, the number of vacancies was little changed in the third quarter of 2019 compared with one year earlier. Decreases in several sectors—led by accommodation and food services, as well as manufacturing—were mostly offset by increases in other sectors, including construction and wholesale trade. Over the same period, the job vacancy rate in Ontario was unchanged at 3.2%.

Job vacancies up in retail trade and health care and social assistance

From the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, the number of job vacancies rose in retail trade and health care and social assistance, while it declined in manufacturing as well as in transportation and warehousing. There was little change in the remaining 6 of the 10 largest industrial sectors (in terms of employment).

The number of vacancies in retail trade rose by 9,400 (+15.2%), driven by more vacancies at motor vehicles and parts dealers, food and beverage stores, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. The job vacancy rate in the retail trade sector increased by 0.4 percentage points to 3.4%. The average offered hourly wage increased by $0.40 to $15.60.

Employers in the health care and social assistance sector reported 2,800 (+4.5%) more vacancies in the third quarter compared with one year earlier, driven by increases in Quebec. As the level of paid employment also increased over the period, the job vacancy rate in this sector was unchanged at 3.1%. This was the first quarter in which there was no year-over-year increase in the vacancy rate since the fourth quarter of 2016. The average offered hourly wage in the sector increased by $0.35 to $23.60.

In manufacturing, the number of vacancies declined by 3,100 (-5.9%) on a year-over-year basis, driven by fewer vacancies in the transportation equipment, wood product, and machinery manufacturing subsectors. At the same time, the job vacancy rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 3.0%, and the average offered hourly wage rose by $0.55 to $21.45.

The number of vacancies in transportation and warehousing decreased by 4,200 (-12.8%), partially due to declines in the warehousing and storage subsector. The job vacancy rate was down 0.6 percentage points to 3.6%, and the average offered wage was up by $1.55 to $23.10 per hour.

Employers recruit on social media for more than half of all vacancies

The Job Vacancy and Wage Survey collects information on the methods employers use to recruit candidates to fill vacancies. In the third quarter, employers reported "social media" as a recruitment method for just over half (51.9%) of all vacancies, up from about one-third (32.4%) in the same quarter of 2015. This was the recruitment method that has seen the largest increase in use over the four-year period since comparable data became available.

Other recruiting methods that have become more frequently cited over the past four years include online job boards (+9.7 percentage points to 75.6%); company's own website (+6.4 percentage points to 58.3%); and professional networking, headhunters, or employment agency (+4.0 percentage points to 19.3%). At the same time, there has been a decline in the use of newspaper ads (-8.5 percentage points to 11.9%). Personal contacts, referrals, and informal networks has remained one of the most popular recruitment methods throughout the period, used for two-thirds (65.6%) of all vacancies in the third quarter of 2019.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Percentage of job vacancies using selected recruitment methods reported by employers, third quarter of 2015 to third quarter of 2019
Percentage of job vacancies using selected recruitment methods reported by employers, third quarter of 2015 to third quarter of 2019

  Note to readers

The Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) provides comprehensive data on job vacancies and wages by industrial sector and detailed occupations for Canada, the provinces, territories and economic regions. Job vacancy and offered wage data are released quarterly.

Estimates by sector are based on the North American Industry Classification System 2017 Version 3.0. Estimates by geographical area are based on the Standard Geographical Classification 2016. Estimates by occupation reflect the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 Version 1.2. The NOC is a four-tiered hierarchical structure of occupational groups with successive levels of disaggregation. The structure is as follows: 1) 10 broad occupational categories, also referred to as one-digit NOC; 2) 40 major groups, also referred to as two-digit NOC; 3) 140 minor groups, also referred to as three-digit NOC; and 4) 500 unit groups, also referred to as four-digit NOC. 1) 10 broad occupational categories, also referred to as one-digit NOC; 2) 40 major groups, also referred to as two-digit NOC; 3) 140 minor groups, also referred to as three-digit NOC; and 4) 500 unit groups, also referred to as four-digit NOC.

Collection of the wage component was suspended in January 2018. A study is being conducted on how to provide more detailed information by regions and occupations. Collection of wage information will resume on the basis of the study results.

JVWS data are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, quarter-to-quarter comparisons should be interpreted with caution as they may reflect seasonal movements.

This analysis focuses on differences between estimates that are statistically significant at the 68% confidence level.

Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours data used in this Daily are three-month moving averages from August 2019, to better align the data with the reference period of the JVWS.

Labour Force Survey data used in this Daily are three-month moving averages from September 2019.

Data quality of the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey

The target population of the survey includes all business locations in Canada, excluding those involved primarily in religious organizations and private households. Federal, provincial and territorial administrations are also currently excluded from the survey.

Next release

Job vacancy data from the JVWS for the fourth quarter of 2019 will be released on March 24, 2020.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey is available online in the Guide to the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (Catalogue number75-514-G).

The product "Labour Market Indicators, by province, territory and economic region, unadjusted for seasonality" (Catalogue number71-607-X) is also available. This dynamic web application provides access to Statistics Canada's labour market indicators for Canada, by province, territory and economic region, and allows users to view a snapshot of key labour market indicators, observe geographical rankings for each indicator using an interactive map and table, and easily copy data into other programs.

Contact information

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

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Martha Patterson (613-299-3942; martha.patterson@canada.ca), Centre for Labour Market Information.

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