Canadian Manufacturing

Despite oil rout, Alberta still looking for workers

Province still region with second-highest vacancy rate in spite of cutbacks

OTTAWA—Oil may be trading at its lowest point since the financial crisis, and Western Canada’s oil and gas companies cutting both capital and operating budgets, but that hasn’t seemed to effect Alberta’s appetite for workers, according to the latest Statistics Canada Job Vacancy and Wage Survey.

The agency noted there were almost 400,000 job vacancies in Canada over the first quarter of 2015, with Western Canada continuing to have a higher need for workers than anywhere east of the prairies. For Canada as a whole, the job vacancy rate was 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, though Statistics Canada noted its survey was conducted in early 2015, which could mean a significant lag between the figures and today’s job market, especially given oil’s continued struggle.

Top regions for job vacancies were Yukon, with 3.9 per cent; Alberta, with 3.5 per cent; and British Columbia, with 3.3 per cent. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had the lowest job vacancies, each recording rate of 1.7 per cent.

The job vacancy rate refers to the share of jobs that are unfilled out of all payroll jobs available.

Statistics Canada also noted Ontario had the largest number of job vacancies with 153,000 in the first quarter, followed by Alberta with 74,000. Alberta accounted for 13.5 per cent of national payroll employment, while registering 18.4 per cent of all job vacancies in Canada.

The Service support and other service sector had the most job vacancies, with 42,000. The group includes occupations such as food counter attendants, operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport as well as specialized cleaners, the agency noted. Service representatives and other customer and personal services occupations had the second-highest number of job vacancies with 31,000.

Unsurprisingly, job vacancies in manufacturing tended to be concentrated in Ontario.

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