B.C., Quebec see highest job vacancy rates in first quarter

The rate of job vacancies maintained last quarter’s record high of three per cent, with about 407,000 private sector jobs remaining unfilled for at least four months, according to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) report.

The job vacancy rate — the proportion of unfilled jobs relative to all available jobs in the private sector — is still markedly up from the 2.6 per cent rate observed in the first quarter of 2017.

“We are still seeing a high number of job vacancies, though the strong rise observed through 2017 has levelled off,” said Ted Mallett, vice-president and chief economist at CFIB.

“Small businesses are feeling the pressure of prolonged job vacancies, especially in British Columbia and Quebec, where the record high vacancy rates are still on the rise. Affected businesses are responding with wage increases, or adjustments to their product lines or capital spending in some cases.”

Results by province

British Columbia and Quebec’s already tight labour markets both experienced vacancy gains this quarter, bringing their rates to 3.8 and 3.7 respectively, according to CFIB.

Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan’s weaker labour markets led to moderate decreases in vacancy rates.

Provinces Vacancy rate Unfilled jobs
British Columbia 3.8% 68,100
Quebec 3.7% 103,100
Ontario 3.2% 163,100
Manitoba 2.7% 11,500
New Brunswick 2.7% 6,300
Alberta 2.4% 38,000
Nova Scotia 2.4% 7,100
Saskatchewan 2.1% 7,200
Newfoundland & Labrador 1.6% 2,400
Prince Edward Island 1.1% 500

Rising vacancy rates in seven sectors were offset by steady or decreasing rates in six. Personal services experienced a large vacancy gain to 4.8 per cent. The vacancy rate in the construction sector also remained high at 3.6 per cent, said CFIB.

Labour shortages continued to exercise pressure on wages this quarter, with companies with unfilled positions expecting to offer an average wage increase 0.6 per cent higher than those with no vacancies, said the Q1 2018 Help Wanted report.

Originally posted on hrreporter.com on June 5, 2018