Job vacancies, three-month average ending in March 2014
Canadian businesses reported 206,000 job vacancies in March, down 17,000 compared with 12 months earlier. For every job vacancy, there were 6.8 unemployed people, up from 6.3 in March 2013, the result of fewer job vacancies.
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio increases in Quebec and Saskatchewan
In Quebec, there were 10.1 unemployed people for every job vacancy, up from 7.5 in March 2013, as there were fewer job vacancies in the province.
Saskatchewan's unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio rose from 1.9 to 3.5, as the number of job vacancies fell and the number of unemployed increased.
The highest ratio in March was in Prince Edward Island, at 21.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy, up from 10.3 a year earlier (see "data quality" in the note to readers). This was all a result of fewer job vacancies over this period, as the number of unemployed people was unchanged.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the ratio fell from 21.4 unemployed people for every job vacancy in March 2013 to 12.8 in March 2014, all a result of more job vacancies.
In the remaining provinces, the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratios were little changed compared with March 2013.
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 largest industrial sectors, construction had the highest number of unemployed people for every vacancy, at 11.5 in March. This was little changed from March 2013, as both job vacancies and unemployment in this sector increased at a similar pace over this 12-month period. Since unemployment patterns in this sector are seasonal, the ratio tends to be highest in the winter months and lowest in the summer.
Administrative and support services had a ratio of 8.0 unemployed people for every vacant job in March, up from 4.0 recorded 12 months earlier, as the number of job vacancies in this sector fell.
The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in health care and social assistance grew from 1.1 to 1.5 in the 12 months to March, the lowest ratio of all industrial sectors. The increase in the ratio was all the result of fewer job vacancies.
The ratio for accommodation and food services was 2.7 in March, down from 3.5 a year earlier. The decline in the ratio was due to more vacancies in this sector.
Among the smaller industrial sectors, two had a notable decline. Over the 12-month period, the ratio in arts, entertainment and recreation fell from 6.6 to 4.9, and the ratio in finance and insurance declined from 2.2 to 1.6. These decreases were the result of fewer unemployed in each sector.
There was little change in the ratio among all other 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 1.4%, down from 1.5% recorded 12 months earlier.
Provincially, the job vacancy rate changed in four provinces in the 12 months to March.
In Prince Edward Island, the rate declined from 2.1% in March 2013 to 1.0% in March 2014, while in Saskatchewan the rate fell from 2.7% to 1.6% and in Quebec, it decreased from 1.5% to 1.1%. Over the same period, the rate in Newfoundland and Labrador increased from 0.9% to 1.4%.
Job vacancy rates by sector
Compared with March 2013, the job vacancy rate declined in two industrial sectors, increased in four and was little changed in the others.
The job vacancy rate in health care and social assistance fell from 2.1% to 1.6% in the 12 months to March, with 29,000 vacancies in March 2014.
Administrative and support services had a rate of 1.0% in March, down from 2.2% a year earlier. The sector had 7,800 job vacancies in March.
In accommodation and food services, the job vacancy rate grew from 2.2% to 2.7% over the 12-month period, and the sector had 31,000 job vacancies in March. The rate also grew in utilities, construction as well as in regional and Aboriginal public administration.
Number of unemployed, number of job vacancies, and unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by province and territory
Number of unemployed, number of job vacancies, and unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by sector
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 the BPS and comprises 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 have been revised. Users are encouraged to request and use the most up-to-date estimates for each month.
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 new data series, 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.
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 we have 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 Labour Force Survey (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 worked 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 22.
For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; firstname.lastname@example.org).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; email@example.com), Labour Statistics Division.
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