Canada still has over a million job vacancies

Posted July 31, 2022 8:00 a.m. EDT

Statistics Canada has released its monthly report on payroll employment, earnings, hours and job vacancies for May 2022. According to the report, the number of employees in Canada receiving pay or benefits from their employer has decreased for the first time since May 2021.

The survey, compiled with data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, shows that as of last May, 26,000 jobs are no longer on the payroll. The largest declines were seen in Ontario and Manitoba, which reported 30,000 and 2,500 vacancies respectively. British Columbia is the only province to report an increase in the number of salaried employees.

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The number of salaried employees is falling in most sectors

Some of the largest declines were seen in the service-producing sector, which saw a loss of more than 17,000 payroll jobs in areas such as educational services, health care and social assistance.

There has also been a significant decline in construction jobs across all industries in the sector. More than 17,500 jobs were lost in May, marking the first decline since July 2021. Most construction jobs were lost in Ontario, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the decline in employment in this sector. This loss is largely attributed to strikes across the province that caused significant delays on several projects.

Retail still has a higher employment rate than in 2021

Ontario also recorded the largest employment decline in the country in the retail trade sector. This is the second consecutive month of decline in the payroll of retail trade occupations. However, the current overall retail employment rate is still 6% higher than it was in May 2021. Unlike Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Terre Newfoundland and Labrador all reported employment increases in retail trade.

The only sector that showed growth in every province was the professional, scientific and technical services sector, which saw a gain of more than 10,000 jobs, mostly in technology occupations such as computer systems design and related services .

Average weekly earnings are up 2.5%

Despite the job loss, the largest increase in weekly earnings in May occurred in retail trade, which rose 9.3% from the same period in 2021. Wages for professional services, science and technology increased by 8.1%. By comparison, the largest drop in average weekly earnings occurred in the arts, entertainment and recreation industries, which saw a 9.7% decline.

Average weekly employee earnings are up 2.5% from the April report. This is probably due to an increase in wages or changes in the employment of workers. The report found the higher average was not due to an increase in hours worked, which remained the same as in April at 1.5% above pre-covid levels.

These data also show a continuation of the general trend towards year-over-year increases. In May, New Brunswick recorded the largest increase from May 2021, climbing to 7.4%. It was closely followed by Newfoundland and Labrador at 5.9%. Seven other provinces also recorded year-over-year increases in average wages.

Vacancies continue to rise in the healthcare sector

The unemployment rate in Canada in May was then at a record low of 5.1% (it fell again to 4.9% in June). According to the survey, the vacancy rate in the health and social services sectors rose sharply to 143,000 vacancies, or 6.1%. This is a significant increase from the vacancy rate in April, which was 5.4% and 20% higher than in May 2021.

Nova Scotia and Manitoba had double-digit job vacancy rates in May, mostly in the accommodation and food services sector, which reported 161,000 job vacancies. This is the thirteenth month in a row that accommodation and food services have had the highest number of vacancies.

Low unemployment and high vacancies

There are over a million job vacancies in Canada. This is in line with April data, but up by more than 300,000 job vacancies since May 2021. The high job vacancy rate, combined with the low unemployment rate described by the Labor Force Survey for May 2022, indicates a growing labor shortage in several sectors and an increased need for immigration to Canada as its workforce reaches retirement age. Canada currently plans to invite its highest number of permanent residents in 2022 with a target of over 430,000. The target will continue to increase to over 450,000 in 2024.

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