Canadian labour markets see small increase in job vacancies during third quarter

Toronto, November 13, 2012 – As Canada’s labour markets continue to recover from the 2008-2009 recession, the percentage of unfilled private sector jobs increased slightly from 2.3 per cent in the second quarter to 2.4 per cent in the July-to-September period, according to data compiled by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Job vacancies have increased at the same pace as the economy has grown,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president. “The small gain in vacancies observed in the third quarter mirrors the slow growth in GDP.”

Overall, the vacancy rate has risen from 1.7 per cent at the end of 2009, although it’s still down from where it was before the recession.

 The latest 2.4 per cent vacancy rate is equivalent to approximately 275,900 full- and part-time private sector jobs. Canada’s construction industry has the country’s highest sectoral vacancy rate (3.7 per cent), although hospitality (2.9), agriculture, forestry and fishing (2.8), oil, gas and mining (2.8) and professional services (2.7) are also high.

 Alberta and Saskatchewan have the highest vacancy rates (3.6 per cent each), while Newfoundland and Labrador (2.8) is also above the national average. Quebec (2.4), Prince Edward Island (2.2), Ontario (2.1), Manitoba (2.1), British Columbia (2.1), Nova Scotia (1.9) and New Brunswick (1.8) either match, or fall short of the overall rate. 

 “Smaller businesses cope with the highest average unfilled job rates,” added Mallett. “That’s a problem because labour shortages proportionately pose much greater management challenges to the owners and managers of small businesses than to larger firms.”

 Job vacancies are defined as openings that have been vacant for at least four months because business owners have been unable to find suitable employees. The third quarter findings are based on 2,518 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. The series is based on 72,012 responses going back to 2004.

 To read Help Wanted: Private sector job vacancies in Canada Q3 2012, please visit

For more information or to arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, contact Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or email

 As Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses, CFIB is Powered by Entrepreneurs™. Established in 1971, CFIB takes direction from more than 109,000 members in every sector nationwide, giving independent business a strong and influential voice at all levels of government and helping to grow the economy.