Job vacancies edge up: almost 330,000 jobs left unfilled in Canada

Sask vacancy rate increases slightly with 7,500 unfilled jobs

Regina, August 24, 2017 – After a year of almost no change, Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate edged up 0.2 percentage points to 2.6 per cent — or 329,900 jobs — in the second quarter of 2017, according to the latest Help Wanted report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

In Saskatchewan, the private sector job vacancy rate edged up from record lows in 2016 to 2.2 per cent representing 7,500 unfilled jobs in the province. While gaining 0.1 percentage points from Q1 the vacancy rate still remains well below previous peaks. In contrast, in Q2 of 2014, Saskatchewan’s private sector job vacancy rate was at 3.7 per cent representing 13,000 unfilled jobs.

“We are starting to see a growing number of unfilled jobs in most provinces across the country,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “Nationally, the job vacancy rate has regained about two-thirds of the loss it had seen since the advent of the resource price crunch at the end of 2014.”

Regional vacancy rates

British Columbia continues to have the highest vacancy rate in the country at 3.1 per cent representing 56,000 unfilled jobs. Quebec, which has seen the biggest climbs in unfilled positions in recent quarters, has a vacancy rate of 2.8 per cent (78,600 jobs) and is followed by Ontario with a vacancy rate of 2.7 percent (134,300 jobs).

Weaker labour market conditions, which tend to show up as low vacancy rates, were again prevalent in Alberta which had a vacancy rate of 1.8 per cent, representing 28,500 jobs.

Industry groupings

Among broad industry groupings, rising vacancy rates in Q2 were seen in the oil and gas sectors, construction, manufacturing, transportation and hospitality. In contrast, vacancy rates declined in the information, arts and recreation, finance and real estate industries.

Job vacancies and wages

As with past Help Wanted reports, the Q2 2017 report shows a clear relationship between job vacancies and wages. Businesses with at least one vacancy reported planned average organization-wide wage increases of 2.1 per cent, while those fully staffed reported planned increases of only 1.6 per cent.

To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email You may follow CFIB askatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region.