September 6, 2022

Weekly EconMinute—Labour demand and job vacancies

In this week’s EconMinute, we’re talking about labour demand and job vacancies.

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Based on the latest data from Statistics Canada, demand for labour reached a record high of nearly 17.7 million people as of June.

But across Canada, more than one million of these positions sits vacant, leaving a record high job vacancy rate (unfilled positions as a percentage of total positions) of 5.9%.

Here in Alberta, things are only slightly better. There are 104,000 vacant positions in the province, down from 113,000 in April, with the job vacancy rate falling from 5.6% to 5.0% over that period.  

Businesses continue to report struggling to fill open positions, whether because individuals who apply do not hold the required skills or because of a lack of applications all together. 

Labour shortages are clearly a challenge seen across all industries. Compared with pre-pandemic levels, the job vacancy rate has increased by more than 50% in almost every industry and has more than doubled in five.

But some industries are feeling the squeeze more than others:

  • The four industries with the most vacancies (and the biggest increase since COVID) are those that were most upended by the pandemic: accommodation & food services; retail; construction; and health care.
  • Accommodation and food services is a particular outlier, with a job vacancy rate of 12% more than double its typical norm (<5%).
  • Together, these four industries account for over half (52%) of job openings across Canada.
  • One outlier is agriculture: though it has a relatively high number of job vacancies, it hasn’t shown much of a change since before the pandemic.

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