P.E.I. labour market tightening, and that's good news for workers

There are more job vacancies on P.E.I., and fewer unemployed, and that adds up to good news for Islanders looking for work.

P.E.I.'s ratio of unemployed to job vacancy is in the middle for Canada

There are more job vacancies on P.E.I. and fewer unemployed, according to Statistics Canada — and that adds up to good news for Islanders looking for work.

Job vacancy is a relatively new thing for StatsCan to track, going back to just the start of 2015, While the history is short, the most recent report, covering the third quarter of 2017, shows the highest number of job vacancies yet in the second and third quarters of the year.

"Overall, the fact that there's more people actively looking for work and vacant positions in general, it's positive," said Fred Bergman, senior policy analyst at APEC.

There are upsides and downsides to job vacancies, Bergman said. Too many vacancies can mean missed opportunities for economic growth, but Bergman doesn't think P.E.I. is there yet. He noted that P.E.I.'s ratio of unemployed to vacant jobs ranks about in the middle of Canadian provinces.

"I don't think you're at the point on P.E.I. where there's a real shortage of people to fill positions. Being in the middle of the pack on this ranking is not a bad place to be," he said.

"It does suggest the labour market is tightening a little bit."

Worker shortage expected in the long term

Statistics Canada started tracking job vacancies, Bergman said, because with an aging population a worker shortage is expected in the long term.

"We know that, because of aging demographics, labour markets are going to get a little tighter over time," he said.

"Job vacancy becomes that much more important to track and that's why they're doing it now."

P.E.I.'s unemployment rate is currently at a 40-year low.

About the Author

Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.