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Job vacancy rates in Alberta

Job vacancy rates in Alberta

Posted on: 4/13/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Economists track a series of labour market indicators, the most important being the Labour Force Survey which provides a snapshot of labour market supply. That is, it’s a gauge of how people “supplying” their work in the labour market (i.e., employees) are finding opportunities.

A less frequent and less-well-known report from Statistics Canada looks at labour market conditions from the other side of the equation: labour market demand. How are companies experiencing labour market conditions? And how many jobs are going unfilled?

The latest snapshot of the Job Vacancies report suggests that slightly more jobs are going unfilled in Alberta compared to a year earlier. In the final quarter of last year, 2.6 jobs in the province were still waiting for a qualified and available candidate. That compares with 2.2 per cent at the end of 2016, and a low of two per cent at the start of 2016.

Job vacancy rates are one way of measuring the strength of the labour market. A high vacancy rate suggests employers are having difficulties filling positions. Alberta’s rate was above four per cent before the oil price collapse but came down swiftly as the recession threw thousands of Albertans out of work.

Canada’s national job vacancy rate has been less volatile, hovering between two and three per cent for the last several quarters. While the national rate is still higher than Alberta’s, the gap appears to be narrowing.

job vacancy rates, graph

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