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Alberta Q4 job vacancy rate remains steady at record low levels

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Calgary, March 16, 2017 - Alberta’s private sector job vacancy rate went unchanged at 1.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the latest Help Wanted report put out by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The national rate also remained steady at 2.4 per cent.

“Labour market conditions are considerably weaker than we’ve experienced in Alberta’s recent booming past,” said Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs. “Although this vacancy rate represents 23,300 unfilled jobs, it is a far cry from the thousands of additional positions that went begging when the economy was prosperous and growing.”

Regional vacancy rates

Vacancy rates are highest in British Columbia (3.1 per cent), Ontario (2.8 per cent), Quebec and New Brunswick (both 2.5 per cent), reflecting a continuation of recent trends in these provinces.

However, considerably weaker labour market conditions, which tend to show up as low vacancy rates, were again noted Saskatchewan (1.9 per cent), though, downward trends through most of 2015 and 2016 appear to have been arrested.

Industry groupings

Rising vacancy rates: oil/gas, construction, manufacturing, wholesale, hospitality, healthcare.

Declining vacancy rates: agriculture, retail, professional services, personal services

Small businesses outside urban centers tend to structurally have higher vacancy rates than larger firms in big cities. Job seekers in today’s labour market may want to consider expanding their employment search to smaller employers in more remote areas if they have flexibility,” concluded Ruddy.

Job vacancies and wages

The survey also shows a continuing clear relationship between job vacancies and wages. Businesses with at least one vacancy reported planned average organization-wide wage increases of 1.7 per cent in Q4 2016, while those fully staffed reported planned increases of only 1.2 per cent.

To arrange an interview with Ted Mallett, please contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022, 647-464-2814 or [email protected]. To speak with Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director, please call 1-866-444-9290 or email [email protected].

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.