Job vacancy rate declines in first quarter

Largest decreases in oil-hit provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian job vacancy rate declined in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the year before, with the largest decreases coming from the oil-hit provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

The job vacancy rate, which is the share of jobs that are unfilled out of all jobs available, fell to 2.1 per cent in the first quarter from 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.

Overall, there were 328,100 unfilled jobs in Canada in the first quarter, a decrease of 17.9 per cent from a year earlier. The vacancy rate declined in nine of the country's 10 provinces.

In Alberta, home to the country's vast oil sands, the vacancy rate slid to 1.9 per cent from 3.5 per cent as overall employment declined in the province. Similarly, the vacancy rate in Saskatchewan fell to two per cent from three per cent.

Nationally, job vacancies were highest in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, which had a 3.9 per cent vacancy rate, followed by a 3.8 per cent rate in the agriculture and forestry industry. The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector had one of the lowest job vacancy rates at 0.7 per cent.

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