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Labour shortage pushes Canadian job vacancies to record high, says report

Job vacancies in Canada’s private sector rose to a record high in the third quarter of 2017, says a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

 

Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate stood at 2.8 per cent for the quarter, the report says, noting the last time Canadian employers faced a similar situation was in early 2008.

 

“In raw terms, this represents a record-high 361,700 jobs left unfilled for at least four months because employers have not found suitable candidates,” reports the CFIB, a non-profit organization with a membership of more than 109,000 independent businesses across Canada.

 

The situation was a product of Canada’s growing economy and a shortage of skilled labour,  says the study, which queried business owner/operators across Canada and was based on 2,033 responses.

 

“Labour shortages are again becoming a major hindrance to businesses across the country, especially small firms,” said Ted Mallett, Chief Economist at CFIB. “We need government to take action, to find solutions for chronic shortages that inhibit a small business’ ability to take on new contracts, expand and innovate.”The findings showed the highest job vacancy rate for the quarter in British Columbia, at 3.4 per cent or 60,100 unfilled jobs.

 

The job vacancy rate also rose slightly in Quebec (3.1 per cent), Ontario (3 per cent), and Saskatchewan (2.4 per cent) during the quarter. Business owners in Ontario reported 149,600 unfilled jobs while another 85,000 went unfilled in Quebec.

 

Alberta had a job vacancy rate of 2.2 per cent, or 33,900 unfilled jobs.

The only Canadian provinces to see their job vacancy rates decline over the previous quarter were Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

The Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island showed no change in their job vacancy rates between the second and third quarter of 2017.

 

Vacancies force wages up in affected sectors

 

Industries facing the greatest labour shortages in the third quarter of 2017 included construction, transportation, enterprise services and personal services, CFIB says.

 

The rising vacancies also resulted in a jump in wages, “with employers with vacancies expecting to push average organization-wide wage levels a full-point higher than those without,” according to the report.

 

The CFIB’s findings follow new data from Statistics Canada that showed Canada’s unemployment rate reaching a 10-year low in November.

 

At 5.9 per cent, the national unemployment rate was the lowest it had been since February 2008.

 

British Columbia led the way in November, posting the lowest unemployment rate in Canada at 4.8 per cent.

 

That same month saw Quebec post its lowest recorded unemployment rate since January 1976, prompting renewed calls to increase the province’s immigration quotas.

 

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