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Job vacancies in Canada, QI 2019 – Up for the 10th consecutive quarter

The number of job vacancies in the first quarter was 506,000, up 44,000 (+9.6%) from the first quarter of 2018. Over the same period, the job vacancy rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 3.1%, the fourth consecutive quarter over 3.0%. This was the 10th successive quarter with a year-over-year growth in both the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate, coinciding with strong employment growth recorded in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours (SEPH) over the same period.

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.

While there was an increase in the number of job vacancies compared with the previous year, vacancies were down in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2018. A decline in the number of job vacancies was also observed from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018.

Job vacancies up in six provinces and one territory

Compared with the first quarter of 2018, the number of job vacancies in the first quarter grew in six provinces and one territory. Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia recorded the greatest rise in the number of job vacancies among the provinces. Growth in the number of vacancies was also recorded in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. The job vacancy rate increased in five of these provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick where it was almost unchanged. There was little change observed in both the number of vacancies and the vacancy rate in the remaining provinces. Job vacancies and the job vacancy rate rose in Nunavut, whereas they were little changed in Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

In Quebec, the number of job vacancies grew by 21,400 (+23.0%) compared with the first quarter of 2018. Nearly half of the growth in the number of job vacancies can be attributed to three sectors: health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services. Compared with one year earlier, the job vacancy rate in the province rose 0.5 percentage points to 3.1%. The unemployment rate in the province over this period was little changed at 5.3%, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

On a year-over-year basis, the number of job vacancies in Ontario was up by 12,400 (+6.9%) in the first quarter. This was driven by gains in the health care and social assistance, retail trade, professional, scientific and technical services, and accommodation and food services sectors. At the same time, declines in the number of job vacancies in transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance, as well as real estate and rental and leasing tempered this growth. Compared with one year earlier, the job vacancy rate in Ontario increased 0.1 percentage points to 3.0%. Over this period, the unemployment rate remained similar to the national average at 5.8%, as reported by the LFS.

In British Columbia, job vacancies increased by 9,300 (+10.1%) in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2018. Most of this growth can be attributed to the transportation and warehousing and professional, scientific and technical services sectors. Despite contributing to more than half of the job vacancy growth over this period, these two sectors comprised 11% of employment in the province according to SEPH. Compared with the previous year, the job vacancy rate in British Columbia increased by 0.2 percentage points to 4.4%, the highest rate among the provinces and territories, and the only province with a job vacancy rate above the national average. At the same time, according to the LFS, the unemployment rate in the province during the first quarter of 2019 was the lowest among all provinces at 4.6%.

Among the Atlantic provinces, New Brunswick (+600 or +7.8%), Prince Edward Island (+500 or +38.0%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+400 or +12.2%) each recorded growth in the number of job vacancies from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. In Prince Edward Island, the job vacancy rate increased 0.7 percentage points to 2.7%. At the same time, the job vacancy rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 1.7% in Newfoundland and Labrador, and was little changed in New Brunswick. Although these three provinces recorded job vacancy increases in the first quarter of 2019, they still had the highest unemployed-to-job-vacancy ratios among all provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador. At the same time, in Nova Scotia, there was little change observed for both the number of job vacancies and the job vacancy rate.

Chart 2: Largest increase in the number of job vacancies recorded in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, first quarter of 2019

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Daily — Job vacancies, first quarter 2019

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