Canada’s Job Vacancy Rate Holds Steady in Q2

Alberta record low rate reflects weak labour market 

Toronto/Calgary – Canada’s job vacancy rate held constant at 2.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2016, although Alberta bucked the trend as its vacancy rate softened further in Q2, with 4,300 fewer positions available this quarter compared to the last.  

The data comes from the latest Help Wanted report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).  The national holding pattern in the vacancy rate comes after three straight quarterly declines and represents roughly 303,100 vacant full time and temporary positions across Canada. 

“We’re continuing to see a moderate softness in Canada’s overall labour market,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB chief economist.  “Weakness is still concentrated in the prairies where Alberta’s vacancy rate of 1.5 per cent is a record low for the 12 years we’ve been collecting the data.” 

A significant shift in the job market in Alberta occurred since Q2 of 2014, when the job vacancy rate was 3.8 per cent and over 66,000 positions went unfilled.  “It is no surprise the number of unfilled positions in Alberta is shrinking.  Now is the time for the Alberta government to create opportunities for small business by lowering taxes, deferring the $15 minimum wage, and conceding now is not the time for a carbon tax”, said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Alberta Director. 

British Columbia continues to have the highest vacancy rate in the country at 3.2 per cent, unchanged from Q1, representing 56,500 jobs. 

Among industries, agriculture and professional services saw an increase in vacancy rates, while notable declines were observed in resources, construction, manufacturing, transport, wholesale trade, hospitality and personal services. 

The survey shows a continuing clear relationship between job vacancies and wages. Businesses with at least one vacancy reported planned average organization-wide wage increases of 1.8 per cent in Q2, 2016, while those fully staffed reported planned increases of only 1.1 per cent. 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.