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More than 400,000 unfilled jobs: Canada’s job vacancies rate remains steadily high in Q1 2018

Toronto, June 5, 2018 – The rate of job vacancies maintained last quarter’s record high of 3 per cent, with about 407,000 private sector jobs remaining unfilled for at least four months, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest Help Wanted report. The observed job vacancy rate – the proportion of unfilled jobs relative to all available jobs in the private sector – is still markedly up from the 2.6 per cent rate observed in the first quarter of 2017.

“We are still seeing a high number of job vacancies, though the strong rise observed through 2017 has leveled off,” said Ted Mallett, Vice President and Chief Economist at CFIB. “Small businesses are feeling the pressure of prolonged job vacancies, especially in British Columbia and Quebec, where the record high vacancy rates are still on the rise. Affected businesses are responding with wage increases, or adjustments to their product lines or capital spending in some cases.”

Results by province
British Columbia and Quebec’s already tight labour markets both experienced vacancy gains this quarter, bringing their rates to 3.8 and 3.7 respectively. Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan’s weaker labour markets led to moderate decreases in vacancy rates.

Provinces Vacancy Rate Unfilled Jobs
British Columbia 3.8% 68,000
Quebec 3.7% 103,100
Ontario 3.2% 163,000
Manitoba 2.7% 11,500
New Brunswick 2.7% 6,300
Alberta 2.4% 38,000
Nova Scotia 2.4% 7,100
Saskatchewan 2.1% 7,200
Newfoundland & Labrador 1.6% 2,400
Prince Edward Island 1.1% 500

Job vacancies by industry
Rising vacancy rates in seven sectors were offset by steady or decreasing rates in six. Personal services experienced a large vacancy gain to 4.8 per cent. The vacancy rate in the construction sector also remained high at 3.6 per cent. 

Labour shortages continued to exercise pressure on wages this quarter, with companies with unfilled positions expecting to offer an average wage increase 0.7 per cent higher than those with no vacancies.

For information on the overall results by province and industry, please consult the Q1 2018 Help Wanted report.

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

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at

June 5, 2018

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