The first quarter of 2021 had the COVID-19 second wave receding in many parts of Canada. Public health restrictions got eased in many provinces in February 2021. Those included Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba.
Then came the third wave of COVID-19 in Canada. Cases of infections and hospitalizations were seen before the quarter ended. The public health measures were tightened, the impact of which was seen on the associated labor markets was witnessed in early April 2021 in most jurisdictions.
Through all this, the situation around jobs in Canada was coming around in an interesting manner.
The rise in job vacancies and the job vacancy rate
In Q1 of 2021, there were 553,500 job vacancies. This was a number scaled up by 40,700 from what it was in Q1 of 2020. It was also up by 47,300 in comparison with available jobs in Canada in Q1 2 years earlier.
The job vacancy rate increased 0.5% to 3.6% in Q1 of 2021. This was the highest rate considering data that began to become available in 2015. The increase in vacancies and a dip in payroll employment caused it.
However, the state of unemployment was opposite to the positive statistics of job vacancies that increased from Q1 in 2020 to Q1 in 2021. Unemployment rose by 427,000 over the same period, which was dramatic. The restrictions imposed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic caused it. The ratio of unemployed people per job vacancy jumped to 3.2 annually from 2.6.
Nearly 1 in 5 available jobs in Canada are in social assistance and healthcare
In Q1 of 2021, the social assistance and healthcare sector had a larger annually progressive increase in job vacancies than any other sector. In total, the vacancies in the sector increased by 27,700 to reach 98,700. The rise in the number of vacancies was seen across all subsectors. Hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities led this trend.
The 3 jobs in Canada that registered the largest yearly increase in vacancies in Q1 of 2021 were connected to the social assistance and healthcare sector:
- nurses and psychiatric nurses (registered) went up by 7,200
- Orderlies, patient service associates, and nurse aides went up by 5,400
- licensed practical nurses went up by 4,000
Of the total vacancies for registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, 49.4% of positions were vacant for 90 days or more.
After payroll employment in social assistance and healthcare dipping to a low in May 2020, the situation began to improve, so much as to cross its levels before the COVID-19.
In March 2021, employment in this sector registered above 1.8% more than its levels in February 2020. But still, there were staffing challenges existing in Q1 of 2021.
Record increase in job vacancies in the construction industry
Vacancies in the construction industry increased by 11,500 and reached 46,400 in Q1 of 2021. This is the most number of available jobs in Canada generated in the construction sector since 2015.
Close to two-thirds of the spike was registered in the subsector of specialty trade contractors which rose by 7,500. This subsector comprises establishments having their primary engagement in activities of trade. Those included painting, masonry, or electrical work.
Meanwhile, vacancies in the sub-sector of building construction increased by 3,500.
Increases by occupation
- Carpenters – up by 2,300 vacancies
- Construction trades helpers and laborers – up by 2,000 vacancies
These occupations came listed among the 10 jobs with the largest yearly increases in vacancies.
When a comparison is drawn with Q1 of 2020, it’s Quebec that came up as the largest contributor to the rise in vacancies in the construction sector. From Q1 of 2020 to Q1 of 2021, the number of building permits Canada issued increased 37.3%. The increase was 63.7% in Quebec.
Record rise in job vacancies in professional, technical, and scientific services
Here’s what the rise in the number of vacancies in some other sectors looked like in Q1 of 2021:
- Professional, technical and scientific services – vacancies up to touch a record high of 47,800. This was more by 5,200 compared to Q1 of 2020.
- Professionals in computer and information systems – vacancies up by 2,100.
Dip in job vacancy – Accommodation and food services
The number of available jobs in Canada decreased by 11,500 yearly in Q1 of 2021 in the sector of accommodation and food services.
Notable declines in sub-sectors:
- Food services and drinking places – vacancies down by 7,800
- Accommodation services – vacancies down by 3,700
There’s a chance that vacancies in this sector will increase from Q1 to Q2 of 2021. That will be consistent with seasonal patterns normally found in Canada.
The public health restrictions are affecting restaurants and bars. The easing of the restrictions may find its reflections in a rise in labor demand that’s not met yet.
Biggest booms in job vacancies in Quebec
Quebec had the largest yearly rise in job vacancies in Q1 of 2021; up by 18,500. This was driven by the following:
- Social assistance and healthcare – vacancies up by 5,900
- Manufacturing – vacancies up by 5,100
- Construction – vacancies up by 3,700)
Of all regions of Quebec, Côte-Nord/Nord-du-Québec recorded the highest rate of job vacancies at 6.1%. This was followed by:
- Capitale-Nationale – 4.8% job vacancy rate
- Laurentides – 4.7% job vacancy rate
- Outaouais – 4.6% job vacancy rate
Over the summer, Canada is coming out of the third wave of the COVID-19. The Job Vacancy & Wage Survey gave monthly data that will give insights into the employers’ challenges as they are looking to resume their operations at full scale.
Simultaneously, the Labor Force Survey data can give insights on Canada’s changing trends in employment by industry and occupation among other factors. It’s essential to maintain the balance between labor demand and supply. Other aspects including wages and quality of employment will also be important in the future.
If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Canada, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.
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