Canada’s payroll employment increases, as strong hiring continues

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: January 27, 2023

Across 10 out of 15 sectors, payroll employment (the number of employees receiving pay or receiving benefits from their employer) increased in November 2022—a good indication of a strong hiring climate, and a returning to pre-COVID economic output in Canada.

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As a result, many industries also saw a decrease in job vacancies—as employers were more effectively able to hire to fill openings, in the face of looming labour shortages. Overall payroll employment increased by 7,100 jobs, as increases in the professional scientific and technical services, public administration, and finance and insurance sectors were offset by significant decreases in the retail trade space.

Total job vacancies were down by 20,700 positions in November 2022, leading to a cumulative 850,300 vacancies across Canada. This represents a decrease of 151,900 job openings since the record high 1 million vacancies seen in May of 2022. This can be interpreted as a sign that economic production of goods and services is continuing to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

An increase in payroll employment is (more specifically) a good indication that companies are hiring and have the necessity for more workers—a gauge of economic growth as more people overall can contribute to the economy through increased employment. In this sense it may be pertinent for newcomers to understand which sectors are increasing payroll employment now, to recognize which kind of businesses are experiencing surges in hiring in Canada.

The sectors which recorded the biggest gains in payroll employment in November included:

Persistent job vacancies

Despite strong growth in payroll employment in November 2022, Canada still faced a high number of job vacancies across multiple sectors.

Healthcare and social assistance (131,800 vacancies)—a persistent problem for Canada currently is finding more healthcare workers, as the high number of vacancies indicates. Despite decreasing vacancies by 19,300 jobs in the total number of job vacancies in the space remain elevated, up nearly 45% from March 2020; This need for workers in the space is further reflected in policy changes the Canadian government has undertaken: including targeting more streamlined accreditation for foreign-educated healthcare professionals and reducing immigration barriers to physicians.

Construction (79,000 vacancies)—It is interesting to note the persistent vacancies in the construction space. Despite making strong gains in payroll employment in November, job vacancies remain elevated in this sector. This may indicate both an increase in business output, but also a persistent need for workers in the space. In fact, vacancies in the construction sector in November of 2021 were virtually unchanged (73,900), indicating this is another sector where Canada has a persistent need for workers, especially as economic recovery continues. Again, policy changes like Canada’s recent commitment to helping out-of-status construction workers, communicates the importance of such labour to the country’s economy

Professional, scientific, and technical services (52,000 vacancies)—similar to the construction sector, the Professional, scientific and technical sector experienced good gains in payroll employment—but still suffers from an increased number of job vacancies. Again, this shows both strong hiring, and continued demand for workers in the space within Canada. In fact, the sector has experienced positive employment gains since October of 2020. In the face of such a high number of job vacancies, this is a strong indicator of enduringly high demand for these workers within Canada.

Immigration will be crucial to address these labour shortages, as Canadian demographics currently cannot support filling current job vacancies. Following the ascension of Bill C-19 in 2022, the Honorable Sean Fraser (as Minister of Immigration) is now able to create groups in the federal Express Entry pool (possibly based on criteria such as the occupations, educations, or language ability of candidates)—and issue invitations to apply (ITAs) to these individuals to more directly address Canada’s economic and social needs. Professions with persistent job vacancies stand a strong chance of being targeted in these draws.

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