Statistics Canada’s job vacancy report for the third quarter of 2022 (Q3) reflects a trend seen throughout the year. Canada continues to face labour shortages, as employers looked to fill close to a million (959,600) job vacancies.
A job is defined as vacant if:
- A specific position exists;
- Work could start within 30 days; and
- The employer is actively looking for workers from outside the organization to fill the position.
Though down 3.3% from the record-high number (993,200) of vacant positions seen at the start of the year, the need for labour remains elevated. Canada had 1.1 persons per job vacancy, in the third quarter of 2022.
Average wages increase as employers look to attract more workers
Faced with a tight labour market, and increased difficulty hiring, many employers have looked to increase the offered wages of vacant positions.
Compared with the same quarter a year earlier, the average offered hourly wage increased by 7.5% to $24.20 per hour.
Some in-demand occupation categories experienced increases in offered wages even higher than the national average, including:
Simultaneously, the average hourly wages of all workers rose by 5.3% in the same period.
Which sectors have high job vacancies in Canada?
Most notably, Canada reached a new record high of job vacancies in the healthcare and social assistance sector. Over 150,100 positions were unfilled in the third quarter of 2022.
The demand for more healthcare workers has been persistent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has responded by removing barriers to permanent residence for physicians and investing millions into streamlining accreditation of foreign-educated healthcare professionals—as Canada looks to address this historic labour shortage.
Other industries that saw a notable number of vacancies included:
Which provinces have the most job vacancies?
Though job vacancies remain high across Canada, certain provinces have had more growth in the number of open positions than others in Q3.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan both saw an increase in job vacancies in Q3 of 10.7% and 7.5% respectively. The considerable percentage increase from quarter to quarter, is again telling of the need for labour.
Simultaneously, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia all saw decreases in the number of job vacancies as compared to the second quarter of 2022. Despite this decrease job vacancies continue to be high across Canada:
- British Columbia: 155,400 vacancies;
- Manitoba: 32,400 vacancies;
- Ontario: 364,000 vacancies;
- Quebec: 232,400 vacancies;
- Saskatchewan: 24,300 vacancies;
- Alberta: 103,380 vacancies*;
- New Brunswick: 16,430 vacancies*;
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 8,185 vacancies*;
- Northwest Territories: 1,820 vacancies*;
- Nova Scotia: 22,960 vacancies*;
- Nunavut: 405 vacancies*; and
- Prince Edward Island: 4,090 vacancies*;
- Yukon: 1,720 vacancies.
*Not seasonally adjusted figures.
British Columbia and Quebec also continued to have the highest job vacancy rate (the proportion of vacant positions to total labour demand (vacant and occupied positions)), at 6.2% and 5.8% respectively.
A look forward
As Canada looks to address labour shortages, immigration becomes a forefront concern for the government. In 2023, the Express Entry system of programs is likely to see a trend of targeted draws for in-demand professions in Canada.
In the wake of these changes, statistics like job vacancies within a sector can provide some insight into which occupations IRCC is likely to target for ITAs, in 2023.
Additionally, Canada is already taking measures to maximize its workforce within the country, granting Open Work Permits (OPWs) to families of LMIA-based work permit holders, and uncapping the number of hours that international students can work until December 31st, 2023.
These policy changes, in addition to the data above, are suggestive of a good hiring climate moving into 2023.
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U.S. Federal Reserve delivers small interest rate hike, signals a ‘couple’ more increases necessary to tackle inflation
The U.S. Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday and signalled that a “couple” more rate hikes are still needed to bring inflation under control.
The widely anticipated announcement lifted the federal funds rate to a range of 4.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent. The quarter-point move is the smallest increase since the central bank began ratcheting up borrowing costs last spring in an effort to curb surging prices.
After a string of oversized rate hikes, the U.S. economy has begun to slow and inflation is showing signs of easing. Fed chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that “the disinflationary process has started,” although he warned that it would be “very premature to declare victory.”
“While recent developments are encouraging, we will need substantially more evidence to be confident that inflation is on a sustained downward path,” he said in a news conference after the rate announcement.
While the Fed was unambiguous that “ongoing increases” in borrowing costs are still necessary, financial markets responded positively to Mr. Powell’s relatively optimistic comments about inflation and the U.S. economy.
The S&P 500 finished the trading day up 1.05 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite surged 2 per cent. Bond markets also rallied, with the yield on two-year U.S. government bonds falling around 0.1 per cent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
“While previous statements said the Fed would have to determine the pace of future rate rises, today’s statement indicated it will now have to determine their extent,” Desjardins economist Francis Généreux wrote in a note to clients. “Rate hikes aren’t over, but it may be the beginning of the end.”
Members of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s highest decision-making body, which sets U.S. monetary policy, signalled in December that they expect the fed funds rate to exceed 5 per cent by the end of the year. That would imply at least two more quarter-point hikes.
Mr. Powell reiterated this forecast, although he said future rate hikes would be conditional on incoming economic data. He also pushed back against market expectations that the Fed could start cutting interest rates this year. Interest-rate-swap contracts are pricing at least two rate cuts before the end of 2023.
“The historical record cautions strongly against prematurely loosening policy. We will stay the course, until the job is done,” Mr. Powell said.
The Fed’s insistence that more rate hikes are still needed puts it on a different trajectory than the Bank of Canada.
Last week, Canada’s central bank increased its benchmark rate to 4.5 per cent, but said it expects to hold off further rate hikes. This “conditional pause” suggests that Canadian rates have reached a plateau while U.S. rates will keep marching higher.
The Canadian economy is generally seen as being more sensitive to interest rates than the U.S. economy, given how much of the Canadian economy relies on the housing sector. Canadian mortgages also tend to have five-year terms, compared with 30-year terms in the United States, making homeowners more susceptible to rate increases.
What happens next to U.S. interest rates will depend on the trajectory of inflation as well as the strength of the country’s labour market.
There are plenty of signs that inflation is trending in the right direction. The annual rate of consumer price index inflation in the U.S. was 6.5 per cent in December, down from a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent in June.
Prices for many goods, such as used vehicles, have fallen in recent months, as supply chains have improved and consumer demand has shifted back toward services. Mr. Powell said he also expects housing-related inflation to diminish in the coming months.
The challenge is service prices, excluding housing, which show few signs of decelerating. This is tied in part to rapid wage growth, which is being driven by the ultralow levels of unemployment, which stood at a record low 3.5 per cent in December.
Mr. Powell said unemployment will likely need to rise to slow the pace of service price growth. He expects this to happen in the coming quarters as higher rates work to slow the economy. Although, he suggested that a soft landing was still possible.
“There’s a path to getting inflation back down to 2 per cent without a really significant economic decline or a significant increase in unemployment,” he said.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England will announce their latest interest-rate decisions on Thursday. The central banks are behind the Bank of Canada and the Fed when it comes to tightening monetary policy, and both are expected to announce further half-point rate increases.
ChatGPT to launch paid version of AI tool for $20 US a month
The intelligence embedded in ChatGPT may be artificial, but the creators of the wildly popular chat bot are hoping it can do something humans strive for all the time: make money.
OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, will soon roll out a paid version of the service in a pilot project, where people willing to spend $20 US a month will get a premium version of the product.
Starting soon, customers in the U.S. who sign up for the program will get preferential access to the service, even at peak times of demand, when many users are currently locked out.
They’ll also get faster response times for their queries, and priority access to new features and improvements as they roll out.
The subscription service will only be available to U.S. users for the time being.
Wildly popular service has its critics
The service has taken the world by storm since its launch in November, becoming the first viral mass-market artificial intelligence tool.
In a blog post, the California-based company says it is also exploring other options for its business, including lower-cost plans, communal subscriptions for corporate clients and data packs.
But the free version is here to stay, they say.
“We love our free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT,” the company said. “By offering this subscription pricing, we will be able to help support free access availability to as many people as possible.”
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