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Unemployment and vacancy rates

Last Updated: Jan. 24, 2012

Statistics Canada published some new insights on Canada's job market this week, outlining what sectors and regions of the country are hungry for workers, and where there are far more willing employees than jobs.

Over the three months ended in September, the agency says there was an average of 248,000 job openings across the country. But as anyone who has ever looked for a job can attest, they were not necessarily the right job, in the right place.

All in all, the agency found there was an average of 3.3 unemployed people across the country for every job opening.

Above, the red bar shows the surplus of workers to jobs, while the green bar shows job vacancies, by industry. In general, the more red there is, the worse the job prospects are, and the more green there is, the more workers are needed. Across all provinces and sectors, the vacancy rate was 1.7 per cent.

While there are pockets of optimism in some provinces and sectors, in general, the data paints a picture of an economy with not enough jobs to go around. As United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir noted, even in booming Alberta and Saskatchewan there were still three unemployed workers for every two job openings. And in the red-hot mining and oil and gas sectors, unemployment still exceeds job openings.

"These figures debunk the view that the solution is to simply prod workers to move west," Weir noted.


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