Ground Water Canada

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433,000 jobs went unfilled in Q3 2019: CFIB report

December 11, 2019  By Ground Water Canada

Toronto – Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate has stabilized but maintained its historic high of 3.2 per cent during the third quarter of 2019, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s latest Help Wanted report.

In total, 433,000 private sector jobs sat vacant for at least four months – about 1,500 more than in Q2 2019 and 15,000 more than a year ago, the CFIB said in a news release.

“This is now the fifth consecutive quarter in which we’re seeing a record high vacancy rate. The smallest of firms, those with fewer than five employees, are having the hardest time recruiting workers, with a vacancy rate as high at 5.4 per cent,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist. “Those unfilled positions add up over time, bringing down firms’ productivity levels and ultimately their ability to be profitable and to grow.”


Employers with at least one vacant position expected to push average organization-wide wage levels up by 2.3 per cent compared to the 1.4 per cent gain planned by businesses with no vacancies.


According to the report, Quebec and British Columbia maintained their spots as the tightest labour markets. Ontario’s vacancy rate remained at the national average at 3.2 per cent. While resource-dependent regions like the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador have had lower vacancy rates over the past few years, they all saw increases this quarter. Newfoundland and Labrador’s vacancy rate saw the biggest increase, gaining 0.2 per cent. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all registered 0.1 per cent rate increases. Vacancy rates in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not register any movement last quarter. Prince Edward Island had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.9 per cent.


The personal services industry, which represents businesses like hairdressers, dry cleaners and funeral services, maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.9 per cent, with construction coming in second at 4.7 per cent. Hospitality (4 per cent), agriculture (3.7 per cent) and information (2.4 per cent) all experienced significant growth in vacancy rates over the past year.

On the other hand, transportation (3.4 per cent), manufacturing (2.8 per cent), wholesale (2.6 per cent) and retail (2.5 per cent) have seen steady declines. The natural resources sector had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.8 per cent.

For information on the overall results by province and industry, please consult the Q3 2019 Help Wanted report.

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