Canadian Manufacturing

Private sector still plagued by labour shortages, CFIB

Manufacturing and transportation sectors have seen steady declines



TORONTO – Canada’s private sector job vacancy rate has stabilized but maintained its historic high of 3.2% 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.

“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%,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist. “Those unfilled positions add up overtime, 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% compared to the 1.4% gain planned by businesses with no vacancies.

Job vacancies by industry
The personal services industry, which represents businesses like hairdressers, dry cleaners and funeral services, maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.9%, with construction coming in second at 4.7%. Hospitality (4.0%), agriculture (3.7%) and information (2.4%) all experienced significant growth in vacancy rates over the past year. On the other hand, transportation (3.4%), manufacturing (2.8%), wholesale (2.6%) and retail (2.5 %) have seen steady declines. The natural resources sector had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.8%.

Job vacancies by province
Quebec (4.0%) and British Columbia (3.8%) maintained their spots as the tightest labour markets. Ontario’s vacancy rate remained at the national average at 3.2%. 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 (2.3%) saw the biggest increase, gaining 0.2%. Manitoba (2.6%), Saskatchewan (2.3%) and Alberta (2.2%) all registered 0.1% rate increases. Vacancy rates in New Brunswick (3.0%) and Nova Scotia (2.4%) did not register any movement last quarter. Prince Edward Island had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.9%.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region.

Access the Q3 2019 Help Wanted report.

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