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Job vacancies, three-month average ending in December 2014

Released: 2015-03-17

Canadian businesses reported 233,000 job vacancies in December, up 30,000 compared with 12 months earlier. For every job vacancy, there were 5.0 unemployed people, down from 6.2 in December 2013. This decline in the ratio was the result of both fewer unemployed people and more job vacancies.

Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio declines in four provinces

In Nova Scotia, there were 6.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy, down from 10.6 in December 2013, as there were more job vacancies in the province.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014

Chart 1: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, all unemployed, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table

The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in Ontario fell from 8.6 to 5.8 in the 12 months to December, the result of both more job vacancies and fewer unemployed people in the province. In British Columbia, the ratio declined from 5.5 to 4.1 over the same period, the result of fewer unemployed people.

The ratio in Prince Edward Island decreased from 20.0 to 11.1 in the 12 months to December. The decline in the ratio was the result of both fewer unemployed people and more job vacancies in the province (see "Data quality" in the note to readers).

In the remaining provinces, the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratios were little changed compared with December 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 10 largest industrial sectors, administrative and support services had the highest number of unemployed people for every job vacancy at 6.5 in December, little changed from December 2013.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table
Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014

Chart 2: Unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio, by largest industrial sector, unemployed people who last worked within the past 12 months, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table

Construction had a ratio of 5.4 unemployed people for every vacant job in December, down from 7.9 recorded 12 months earlier, as the number of unemployed people who last worked in this sector declined.

The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in manufacturing fell from 6.5 to 5.2 in the 12 months to December, the result of a decline in the number of unemployed people.

In educational services, the ratio declined from 6.3 in December 2013 to 3.8 in December 2014, as a result of more job vacancies in this sector.

The ratio in transportation and warehousing was 2.2 in December, down from 3.3 in December 2013. The decline in the ratio was due to fewer unemployed people who last worked in this sector.

Health care and social assistance had a ratio of 0.8 unemployed people for every vacant job in December, the lowest ratio on record since the start of the survey in 2011. The ratio in this sector declined from 1.4 in December 2013, the result of an increase in the number of job vacancies.

Among the smaller industrial sectors, the ratio in finance and insurance fell from 3.0 in December 2013 to 1.4 in December 2014. The unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio in arts, entertainment and recreation increased from 4.8 to 10.9 over the same period, as a result of both more unemployed people and fewer job vacancies in December. The ratio in 'other services' increased from 1.3 to 2.3, as there were more unemployed people who last worked in this sector.

There was little change in the ratio among the remaining 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 December, the national job vacancy rate among Canadian businesses was 1.5%, up from 1.3% recorded 12 months earlier.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table
Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014

Chart 3: Job vacancy rate, by province, three-month average, December 2013 and December 2014 - Description and data table

The job vacancy rate changed in three provinces in the 12 months to December.

From December 2013 to December 2014, the rate increased from 1.0% to 1.6% in Nova Scotia, from 0.9% to 1.4% in Prince Edward Island and from 1.0% to 1.4% in Ontario.

Job vacancy rates by sector

Compared with 12 months earlier, the job vacancy rate grew in four industrial sectors, fell in three and was little changed in the others.

In health care and social assistance, the job vacancy rate grew from 1.6% to 2.7% in the 12 months to December, with the industry reporting 50,000 job vacancies in December 2014. This was an increase of 22,000 job vacancies in this sector compared with a year earlier.

Finance and insurance had a rate of 1.7% in December, up from 0.8% a year earlier. This sector had 12,000 vacancies in December.

In the 12 months to December, the job vacancy rate increased from 0.6% to 0.9% in real estate and rental and leasing, and from 0.4% to 0.5% in educational services.

The job vacancy rate in utilities fell from 1.6% to 0.6% in the 12-month period. In arts, entertainment and recreation, the rate declined from 2.2% to 1.3%, and the industry recorded 3,300 job vacancies in December. The rate in professional, scientific and technical services decreased from 2.1% to 1.6%, and there were 14,000 job vacancies in the sector.




  Note to readers

Revised job vacancy statistics will be available with the release of January data on April 21 and will cover data for the period from 2011 to 2014. These are the result of revisions to the Survey of Employment Payrolls and Hours data, which are the source for job vacancy statistics, as well as revisions to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which are the source for unemployment data.

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 that of the BPS and includes 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.

Data quality

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 relatively 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.

Definitions

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 there are 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 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 January will be released on April 21.

Contact information

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

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Emmanuelle Bourbeau (613-951-3007; emmanuelle.bourbeau@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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