Canadian Job Vacancies Hits A New Record, As 600,000 Positions Sit Empty: BMO

Canadian Job Vacancies Hits A New Record, As 600,000 Positions Sit Empty

Canada has hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs, despite elevated unemployment levels. BMO weighed in on the vacancy numbers, which jumped to an all-time high in Q1 2021. Robert Kavcic, the bank’s senior economist, estimates vacancies are now the size of 2.5% of the working population. Climbing unfilled jobs are attributed to lingering public health concerns, and unemployment benefits.

Canadian Job Vacancies Hit The Highest Level On Record 

This morning’s job vacancy numbers increased to a record high, though the records don’t go very far back. The first quarter of 2021 had 600,000 unfilled jobs, once seasonally adjusted. Kavcic points out this is 2.5% of the working aged population (those between 15 and 64 years of age). It’s a lot of jobs to fill.

Source: BMO Economics.

“[it] rhymes with anecdotes that businesses are having trouble filling open positions. Vacancies are especially elevated across various sectors less hard-hit by the pandemic, such as construction, manufacturing and some areas of trade,” he said. 

Lockdowns In The Second Quarter Likely “Tempered” Vacancies

The numbers are for the first quarter though, and may have tempered a little since then. The second quarter saw a number of cities reenter lockdowns. This led to additional business closures, and lowered business activity.

Restrained demand from closed businesses tapers demand for goods, and services. This turns into lower employment. At least in the short-term. BMO sees this as a temporary setback though, being fixed in the second half.

Worker Comfort (or Discomfort) May Leave Job Vacancies Unfilled 

Whether employees are ready to come back to work,  due to lingering social fears or crap pay, is the big question. “The outcome might depend on if generous support benefits get wound down; how comfortable Canadians are post-vaccination; and if households are willing to delay work and lean instead on accumulated savings,” he said. 

The US is currently experiencing a similar situation. Employers are blaming generous unemployment benefits for competing with their pay. Job seekers argue wages should increase if unemployment benefits are competitive. Rather than employers increasing wages, half of US states plan to cut unemployment benefits

Canada appears to be adopting a similar path as the US in this regard. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), similar to the enhanced US unemployment, is currently planned to receive a 40% reduction to $300 per week. Unless those employees stacked some savings, the odds may favor employers. When the odds favor employers, wage growth does not favor the employee.

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  • Felix 3 years ago

    Or the dreaded reality — in Toronto a relatively new employee needs to six figures, or they’re living in poverty. Renting a one-bedroom now needs an $80,000 income on average, and then you’re still cutting it pretty close, since so much of it goes to taxes.

    • Gerald Haw 3 years ago

      The role of high housing costs on wages is definitely underestimated. Younger employees need higher and higher wages just to secure shelter, which is probably why millennials make significantly more than previous generations, yet have very little to show for it.

  • SH 3 years ago

    This will be used as an excuse to import 1 million immigrants a year (plus foreign students, plus TFWs) in order to spare employers the hardship of raising wages for working class and middle class Canadians.

  • DisgruntledDudes 3 years ago

    Why bother working if you can’t build a life?

    Can’t afford a house.
    Can’t afford gas.
    Can’t afford kids.
    Can’t afford shit.

    So what’s the point? Are governments and employers so deluded as to think that we’ll bother for some shiny trinkets. It’s time to grow up, grow a pair of bras balls, and venture forth into the world of the plebs to see the issues they’re facing. My desire to work is directly correlated to the housing market and my ability to build a good life. If I can afford to build a life, I work. If I can’t, there is simply no point to it.

    Oh – and I don’t care if prices in Deersuck Nunavut are acceptable. That’s not where my family is. If I was going to move, why in gods name would I move elsewhere in a frozen 10-days-a-year-holiday place? If I’m moving I’m moving to europe. At least they respect workers slightly more. At least, if I can’t build a life, I can go on a holiday. Here I don’t even have that.

    • SH 3 years ago

      I moved to Europe 7 years ago. I have 38 paid vacation days per year. It’s so many that I can’t possibly use them all for regular extended vacations so I find myself scouring the calendar to insert lots of random 3- and 4-day weekends throughout the year.

      I say this not to brag – everyone in most European countries has the same experience – but to encourage young Canadians to leave. Canada really does offer the worst deal to young workers in the Western world.

      US offers high pay, low income tax, and lousy benefits.
      Europe offers lousy pay (generally, not including London), high income tax, but fantastic benefits.
      Canada? Lousy pay, high income tax, AND lousy benefits.

  • Ksnn 3 years ago

    Let see, high inflation, high job vacancy means higher wages. Also means housing prices will continue to increase.

    • Pete 3 years ago

      People do not want to work for minimum wage.
      it means , only one thing -most of young people ( the working force) have to live on 5% of their income and the rest will be spend on mortgage.

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