Help Wanted: Private sector job vacancies, Q4 2015

April  2016
Ted Mallett, VP & Chief Economist

Canada's private sector job vacancy rate declined in the fourth quarter of 2015. On average, employers reported that 2.5 per cent of positions had remained vacant for at least four months because they were unable to find suitable candidates. This compares to 2.6 per cent in the previous quarter (see Figure 1). The national level estimates which represent about 316,100 positions, however, mask counteracting regional developments.

Vacancy rates continue to fall dramatically in the Prairie Provinces—to 2.0 per cent in Manitoba and to 2.4 per cent each in Saskatchewan and Alberta—in reflection of continuing labour market weakening (see Table 1 and Figure 4). Conversely, we are seeing a rise in vacancy rates in British Columbia (to 3.0 per cent). Rates in the remaining provinces are essentially unchanged--Newfoundland and Labrador (2.4 per cent), Nova Scotia (2.1 per cent), New Brunswick (2.6 per cent), Quebec (2.4 per cent) and Ontario (2.6 per cent).

Among industries, vacancy rates have generally been either stable or rising modestly in the services sectors, while declining among goods producers. Most of the differentials among sectors are a result of structural factors. Vacancy rates tend to be double in micro businesses than in large enterprises (see Figure 2). Sectors with high proportions of micro businesses, therefore, tend to have higher vacancy rates overall.

The survey also shows a continuing clear relationship between job vacancies and wages. Businesses with vacancies reported planned average organization-wide wage increases of 1.9 per cent in Q4 2015, while those fully staffed reported about a half-point less at 1.3 per cent (see Figure 3).

+Figure 1: Vacancy and unemployment rates

+Figure 2: Vacancy rates by size of business

+Table 1: Private sector job vacancies by province, Q4 2015

+Figure 3: Average planned wage increases, Q4 2015

+Figure 4: Vacancy rates by province

+Figure 5: Vacancy rates by industry


Notes: methodology and data quality

The current results are based on 2,140 responses
from the latest quarter. The series comes from CFIB's Your Business Outlook Survey, which is conducted monthly with a stratified random sampling of
ID-validated business owner-operator members.

On the survey, respondents provide the total number
of full-timeand part-time people currently employed at their business. They are also asked “How many jobs in your firm currently have been vacantfor at least 4
months because you have been unable to find suitable employees?” Non-responses are treated as
zero vacancies. Vacancy rates are defined as total vacancies, divided by the sum of total employment and vacancies. Data outliers are identified using regression analysis, and then dealt with by capping those vacancies at the 90th percentile level in each business size class.

To account for small quarterly sample sizes, data
for the 500+employment size group are imputed by
using the aggregate historical ratios relative to the
other business size categories from 2004 to 2014.
Aggregate employment and vacancies are then reweighted by province and by industry based on quarterly data from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), subtracting
out public sector employment based on CFIB’scustom tabulations from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey(LFS).

National quarterly data are seasonally adjusted and trended using x-12 methodology. To deal with
occasional missing data points, provincial and industry sector data are further smoothed before seasonal adjustment, and then re-adjusted afterwards to ensure their totals add up to national figures.

Because of the use of centralized moving averages, new quarterly data may result in revisions of past estimates. For that reason, simple rule-of-thumb statistical margins of error usually reported on surveys do not apply.

Comparison with Statistics Canada’s job
vacancy estimates

Beginning in Q1 2015, Statistics Canada's new
Job Vacancy andWage Survey1 (JVWS) is
producing vacancy rate estimates that arealmost
double the previous rates based on the Survey
of Employment Payrolls and Hours (SEPH).
The JVWS's initial data arenow almost identical
to CFIB's quarterly figures, largely because they
now share closer survey methodologies. Most
significantly, StatisticsCanada is now surveying
owners and business managers in branch locations who are responsible for hiring, rather than head officepayroll departments. Key remaining
differences are the largersample size of the JVWS and the seasonally adjusted nature of theCFIB data.


Previous reports:

+Help Wanted. Private sector job vacancies in Canada 2015

Q3 2015

Q2 2015

Q1 2015

+Help Wanted. Private sector job vacancies in Canada 2014

Q4 2014

Q3 2014

Q1 2014

+Help Wanted. Private sector job vacancies in Canada 2013

Q4 2013

Q3 2013

Q2 2013

Q1 2013

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