Job vacancies in Canada remain near record highs

Alexandra Miekus
Published: February 4, 2022

The number of job vacancies in Canada remains high with 874,700 unfilled positions, according to the latest Statistics Canada figures.

Data from November suggests the number of job vacancies was down 9.3% from October, but still significantly higher than before the start of the pandemic. Although the last two months have seen a decline from the all-time high recorded in September, the number of unfilled positions remains 72% above that of the fourth quarter of 2019.

The job vacancy rate, which measures job vacancies as a share of all vacant and filled positions, was 5.1% in November, up 2.1 percentage points from before the pandemic, according to Statistics Canada.

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An all-time high of 51,500 vacancies was recorded in the transportation and warehousing sector in November. The vacancy rate for this sector was 6.2% in November, the highest recorded monthly rate since such data began being collected in October 2020.

Other key economic sectors affected by high job vacancies are accommodation and food services, healthcare, and construction.

The month of November saw an 11.7% drop in vacancies in the accommodation and food services sector to 130,100. Despite this drop, the sector posted a 9.9% vacancy rate in November, outpacing all other sectors for the seventh consecutive month.

In the health care sector, the number of vacancies stood at 119,600, with a vacancy rate of 5.2%.

In construction, the number of vacancies was 67,800 in November, with a vacancy rate of 5.6%.

Compared with the previous month, the number of job vacancies decreased in six provinces in November, with the largest declines in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Quebec. In contrast, Manitoba reached a record high of 27,300 job vacancies, although the province's vacancy rate of 4.5% remained below the national average of 5.1%.

According to the payroll survey data provided by Statistics Canada, 37,200 positions were filled in November, up 0.4% from pre-pandemic levels and the sixth consecutive monthly increase.

The increase in employment in November was primarily in the service sector, including accommodation and food services, public administration and professional, scientific, and technical services. According to Statistics Canada, these gains in employment were due to the easing of capacity limits and distancing requirements for many businesses during the last week of October and the beginning of November.

The construction sector has also fared particularly well across Canada, with all construction industries returning to or exceeding their pre-pandemic employment levels.

Average weekly hours and wages were little changed in November. The average hourly wage earner worked about 31 hours per week, while salaried employees worked 37.

Weekly earnings changed very little in November, averaging $1,131.

Overall, November showed encouraging signs of employment and economic recovery in Canada. The effects of the recent Omicron wave, which began in late November and now appears to be subsiding, are still unknown but could affect Canada's economic progress in the early months of 2022.

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