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Ontario hits new heights as national Q4 job vacancy rate remains steady; Sask remains at record low

Regina, March 16, 2017 - Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate was once again unchanged at 2.4 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), though Ontario saw its highest recorded reading since CFIB started measuring this indicator in 2004.

In Saskatchewan, the private sector job vacancy rate remained at a record low at 1.9 per cent representing 6,400 unfilled jobs. In contrast, in Q4 of 2014, Saskatchewan’s private sector job vacancy rate was at 3.4 per cent representing 12,100 unfilled jobs.

“Nationally, this is the fourth consecutive reading at that level, and it mirrors similar stability in the unemployment rate,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “Although representing over 300,000 unfilled jobs, it shows continuing slack in Canada’s labour market overall, and masks considerable differences in conditions across regions and industries.”

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 in Alberta (1.5 per cent) and Saskatchewan (1.9 per cent). In both cases, 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

“It should be mentioned, however, that sector conditions form only part of the picture with respect to job vacancies as they don't necessarily represent the more precise occupational or skills-set needs of businesses,” stated Mallett, adding, “Small businesses are structurally more prone to higher vacancy rates compared to larger enterprises, which have greater flexibility to move people within their organizations.”

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 arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President Prairie & Agri-business, please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]. Follow CFIB Saskatchewan 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.

March 16, 2017

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