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National job vacancy rate rises

Tuesday December 16, 2014 Written by 
An estimated 322,000 private sector jobs were awaiting qualified employees in Q3, according to the latest Help Wanted report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

The nationwide openings in full, part-time and temporary positions were up by 7,000 jobs compared to the second quarter of the year, the largest quarterly increase measured by CFIB in the past two years.

“As the unemployment rate goes down, the job vacancy rate goes up,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “A tightening labour market means that employers have a harder time finding the qualified employees they need; especially small businesses. Generally, businesses with fewer than 20 employees are reporting vacancy rates more than double that of businesses employing 50 or more.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis, 2.7 per cent of jobs lay vacant in Canada’s private sector, a tenth of a point higher than in the second quarter. Modest increases were seen in most business size categories.

In the past five years, the vacancy rate has climbed from a low of 1.7 per cent in late 2009 and early 2010, rising to 2.6 per cent by 2012. Prior to the recession, the rate of private sector job vacancies topped out at 3.0 per cent through late 2007 and early 2008.

“Once again, CFIB’s data is based on a degree of local and regional analysis that is unmatched by Statistics Canada,” said Mallett. “By drilling down to Census Divisions within provinces – more commonly known as county level detail – we found that the lowest vacancy rates were found in Ontario’s Renfrew County and in Nova Scotia’s Colchester and Hants Counties at barely one per cent. On the other hand, job vacancy rates about six-times as high were found in Wainwright, Lloydminster, Claresholm and Cold Lake in Alberta.”

Of the 322,000 or so vacancies, just over half were in small businesses currently employing fewer than 50 people. About one-in-five vacancies were in mid-sized firms while almost one-in-four were in large enterprises with employment above 500.

There were fractional increases in unfilled jobs in oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation and financial services. Offsetting those were modestly fewer vacancies in agriculture, wholesale trade, business services and hospitality.

The full report is now available from CFIB.

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