Skip to main content

Labour shortages ease for first time since 2016 but 409,000 jobs remained unfilled in Q4 2018

Toronto, February 25, 2019 – The national job vacancy rate eased slightly to 3.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 0.1 per cent since the previous quarter, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Help Wanted report. In total, 409,000 private sector jobs sat vacant for at least three months, nearly 41,000 more than a year ago.

“This is the first decline in vacancy rates we’ve seen since Q2 2016 but the market is still quite tight despite it,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s vice president and chief economist. “The situation in Quebec and British Columbia in particular hasn’t changed. Both provinces have vacancy rates well above the national average.”

Vacancies continued to put pressure on wage levels, but to a lesser degree than in previous quarters. Employers with at least one vacant post expected to increase average organization-wide wage levels by 2.3 per cent, compared to 1.6 per cent for employers with no job openings.

Results by province
Quebec continued to experience the highest vacancy rate at 3.9 per cent, followed by British Columbia at 3.5 per cent. Ontario’s vacancy rate was unchanged at 3.1 per cent. Manitoba (2.4 per cent), Alberta (2.3 per cent), Nova Scotia (2.2 per cent) and Newfoundland & Labrador (1.5 per cent) each experienced a decline in vacancy rates. New Brunswick (2.7 per cent), Saskatchewan (1.9 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (1.8 per cent) did not experience a change this quarter and maintained vacancy rates below the national average.

Provinces Vacancy rate Change Unfilled jobs
Quebec 3.9%   112,000
British Columbia 3.5%   66,600
Ontario 3.1%   160,600
New Brunswick 2.7%   6,200
Manitoba 2.4% -0.1% 10,500
Alberta 2.3% -0.1% 37,100
Nova Scotia 2.2% -0.1% 6,700
Saskatchewan 1.9%   6,600
Prince Edward Island 1.8%   800
Newfoundland & Labrador 1.5% -0.1% 2,200

Job vacancies by industry
Vacancy rates advanced in agriculture, construction and wholesale, while resources, manufacturing, professional services and personal services saw decreases. Despite the decline, personal services maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.6 per cent, followed by construction (4.5 per cent). The information (1.7 per cent) and finance (2.2 per cent) sectors had the lowest vacancy rates. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees generally reported the highest vacancy rates.

For information on the overall results by province and industry, please consult the Q4 2018 Help Wanted report.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
[email protected]

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at

February 25, 2019

Share this Article: Share this article on social media
Topics in this Article: News Releases

Related Documents