Wage increases fail to keep up with inflation amid record vacancies

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Vacancies hit a record high in the second quarter of 2022, but employers struggling to fill those vacancies still offered wage increases below the rate of inflation.

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On September 20, Statistics Canada said there were nearly one million job vacancies in the second quarter, the highest quarterly number on record. This represents an increase of 45,000 vacancies compared to the previous quarter and 42.3% more than in 2021.

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The job vacancy rate, which measures job vacancies as a percentage of total labor demand, was 5.7%, also an all-time high.

The high number of job vacancies in recent months has drawn attention to the correlation between unmet labor demand and higher wages, Statistics Canada said. In the second quarter, the overall average hourly wage rose 5.3% to $24.05, compared to a 7.5% increase in the consumer price index (CPI) over the same period .

Wages rose more than the CPI in five sectors, including professional, scientific and technical services and wholesale trade. But wage increases were lower than the CPI for other sectors, which include retail, construction, health care and social assistance.

According to Statistics Canada, 82.9% of total job vacancies were in industries that offered wage growth at or below the CPI in the second quarter.

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