Job Vacancies In Canada Hit A Record High. So Why’s It Getting Harder To Find Work?

By Daniel Tencer | HuffPost | There was a record-high number of unfilled private-sector jobs in Canada in the first quarter of 2018, suggesting the country is seeing a historically significant labour shortage. But some recent data also suggests it’s taking longer for the unemployed to find work — a contradiction that suggests Canadian workers and employers […]

By Daniel Tencer | HuffPost |

There was a record-high number of unfilled private-sector jobs in Canada in the first quarter of 2018, suggesting the country is seeing a historically significant labour shortage.

But some recent data also suggests it’s taking longer for the unemployed to find work — a contradiction that suggests Canadian workers and employers may be facing a skills mismatch.

According to the latest Help Wanted report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, there were 407,000 unfilled private-sector jobs in Canada in the first quarter of 2018, up from the previous record high of 399,000 jobs in the last quarter of 2017.

The national vacancy rate stood at three per cent, meaning three out of every 100 jobs were unfilled. That’s up from 2.6 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

British Columbia had the highest vacancy rate, at 3.8 per cent, followed closely by Quebec, at 3.7 per cent, and Ontario at 3.2 per cent. Not coincidentally, these are also the provinces with the lowest unemployment rates in recent months.

The highest vacancy rate is in the “personal services” job category, which includes things such as domestic workers (housecleaners, cooks, au pairs) as well as jobs such as flight attendants and hairdressers. The industry with the lowest rate of open jobs was information, arts and recreation.

The vacancy rate in the oil, gas and mining sector was below the national average, at 2.4 per cent, suggesting the energy price rebound hasn’t yet translated into hiring in the oil patch.

Yet despite the record job vacancies and the lowest national unemployment rate on records going back to to 1976, it appears to be getting harder for Canada’s unemployed to find work.

A survey of unemployed Canadians aged 18 and over, carried out for Express Employment Professionals and released late last month, found that the average length of unemployment has now reached 19 months in Canada — the highest rate in the survey’s five-year history.

That’s six months longer than it was in 2014, the survey found.

Read more at HuffPost.