Canadian employers are struggling to find labor but this isn’t just reopening pains. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows over one million vacant jobs in September. The common take is, this hiring boom is reopening pains as the economy grows. Further analysis of the same data set shows that might not be the case last month. Rising vacancies were met by a drop in people on payrolls, with little net change to employment. In the most recent month of data, people were just leaving the workforce faster than others could be hired.

Employers Need To Fill Over 1 Million Jobs

Canadian job vacancies have been soaring over the past few months. There were 1,014,560 vacant jobs in September, an increase of 16.4% from a month before. That’s roughly 143,560 more vacant jobs in a month, a number greater than the total population of St. John’s. The total of unfilled jobs is nearly a third the size of Toronto’s total employed population. It’s a lot of jobs that need to be filled.

Rising Job Vacancies Are Almost Equal To The Fall In Payroll

One surprising trend is Canadian payroll data is also on the decline. There were 15,772,775 employees on payroll in September, down 0.9% from a month before. That’s right, the number of employed people fell by 145,775 in the same month. This more than accounts for the number of job vacancies created. Job vacancies increased by nearly the level of people that left the workforce.

Canadian Job Vacancies Vs Employees On Payroll

The monthly number of jobs reported as vacant compared to the number of employees on payroll in Canada.

Canada’s Job Vacancy Rate Has Never Been Higher

The Canadian job vacancy rate is now the highest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. The rate hit 6.0% in September, rising 0.8 points higher than the month before. Unfortunately, Canada has only been collecting data since last October. This means we can’t directly compare what this issue looked like pre-2020. It’s not hard to see 1 in 16 jobs vacant as a huge number though.

The job vacancy data isn’t as straightforward of a take as many have shared. A rise in the number of unfilled jobs sounds like an economic boom, as is the case in the US. However, the US is seeing wages soar as employers compete, while wage growth has been tepid in Canada. This makes more sense with the drop of employed people on payroll. Canada’s labor market didn’t grow in the month, so much as it experienced a shift in labor. 


Posted by Teri-Lynn Jones on


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