Help Wanted: Private sector job vacancies, Q3 2016

December 2016
Ted Mallett, VP & Chief Economist

Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate held steady at 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2016. This mirrors similar stabilityin the country's unemployment rate, which has hovered near7.0 per cent for most of 2016. It shows that moderate softnessin Canada’s overall labour markets persists.

As in the previous quarter, the smooth national findings masksome large movements—up or down—by region and sector.Weakness is concentrated in the resource provinces and in the east (see Figure 4). Alberta’s vacancy rate fell once again andnow stands at a record low 1.5 per cent for the 12 years CFIBhas been collecting the data. The rate in Saskatchewan is downto 1.7 per cent, while Prince Edward Island’s is down in similarterritory (1.6 per cent).

 In contrast, the vacancy rate is up sharply in British Columbia,with a gain of 0.2 points to a nation-leading 3.5 per cent—the highest seen there since early 2008. Conditions in the rest ofcentral and eastern Canada are relatively stable, with vacancyrates ranging between 2.0 in Nova Scotia to 2.7 per cent in Ontario.

  Among industry groupings, rising vacancy rates were seen in the agriculture, information, health care and professionalservices sectors, while declines were noted in construction, oiland gas, transportation, hospitality and personal services (seeFigure 5).

The survey also shows a continuing clear relationship betweenjob vacancies and wages (see Figure 3). Businesses with at leastone vacancy reported planned average organization-wide wageincreases of 1.9 per cent in Q3 2016, while those fully staffedreported planned increases of only 1.2 per cent.

+Figure 1: Vacancy and unemployment rates

+Figure 2: Vacancy rates by size of business

+Table 1: Private sector job vacancies by province, Q3 2016

+Figure 3: Average planned wage increases, Q3 2016

+Figure 4: Vacancy rates by province

+Figure 5: Vacancy rates by industry


Notes: methodology and data quality

The current results are based on 1,899 responses from the latestquarter. The series comes from CFIB's Your Business Outlook Survey,which is conducted monthly with a  stratified random sampling ofID-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 arealso asked “How many jobs in your firm currently have been vacantfor at least 4 months because you have been unable to find suitableemployees?” Non-responses are treated as zero vacancies. Vacancyrates are defined as total vacancies, divided by the sum of totalemployment and vacancies. Data outliers are identified usingregression analysis, and then dealt with by capping those vacanciesat 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 aggregatehistorical ratios relative to the other business size categories from2004 to 2016. Aggregate employment and vacancies are thenreweighted by province and by industry based on quarterly datafrom 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 beforeseasonal adjustment, and then re-adjusted afterwards to ensuretheir totals add up to national figures.

Because of the use of centralized moving averages, new quarterlydata may result in revisions of past estimates. For that reason,simple rule-of-thumb statistical margins of error usually reported onsurveys 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 ofEmployment Payrolls and Hours (SEPH). The JVWS's initial data are 

now almost identical to CFIB's quarterly figures, largely because theynow 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 2016

Q2 2016

Q1 2016

+Help Wanted. Private sector job vacancies in Canada 2015

Q4 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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