Slight increase in small business job vacancies

Highest vacancy rates in construction, hospitality: Survey

As Canada's labour markets continue to recover from the 2008-2009 recession, the percentage of unfilled private sector jobs increased slightly from 2.3 per cent in the second quarter to 2.4 per cent in the July-to-September period, according to data compiled by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

"Job vacancies have increased at the same pace as the economy has grown," said Ted Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "The small gain in vacancies observed in the third quarter mirrors the slow growth in GDP."

Overall, the vacancy rate has risen from 1.7 per cent at the end of 2009, although it's still down from where it was before the recession. Job vacancies are defined as openings that have been vacant for at least four months because business owners have been unable to find suitable employees.

The latest 2.4 per cent vacancy rate is equivalent to about 275,900 full- and part-time private sector jobs. Canada's construction industry has the country's highest sectoral vacancy rate (3.7 per cent), although hospitality (2.9), agriculture, forestry and fishing (2.8), oil, gas and mining (2.8) and professional services (2.7) are also high, found the survey of 2,518 CFIB members.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have the highest vacancy rates (3.6 per cent each), while Newfoundland and Labrador (2.8 per cent) is also above the national average. Quebec (2.4 per cent), Prince Edward Island (2.2 per cent), Ontario (2.1 per cent), Manitoba (2.1 per cent), British Columbia (2.1 per cent), Nova Scotia (1.9 per cent) and New Brunswick (1.8 per cent) either match, or fall short of the overall rate.

"Smaller businesses cope with the highest average unfilled job rates," added Mallett. "That's a problem because labour shortages proportionately pose much greater management challenges to the owners and managers of small businesses than to larger firms."

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