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Linking labour demand and labour supply: Job vacancies and the unemployed

This study provides additional insight into labour demand and supply based on the joint availability of job vacancy and unemployment data over the past two years (2015 and 2016). Specifically, it uses data from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS) and Labour Force Survey (LFS) to answer the following questions: To what extent are job vacancies and unemployment related? What can the unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio tell us? To what extent do occupations differ in their relative degree of being slack (more workers than jobs) or tight (more jobs than workers)? How does the unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio differ by education level?

  • In 2015/2016, there were 3.4 unemployed persons per job vacancy in Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador (8.2) had the highest ratio, while British Columbia had the lowest ratio (2.2).
  • In 2015/2016, sales and service occupations accounted for a disproportionately high number of job vacancies (37%) and a high number of unemployed persons with recent work experience (29%).
  • The labour market was the tightest for health occupations. There were 0.7 unemployed health workers for each job vacancy.
  • Conversely, there were about 3.5 unemployed workers for each job vacancy for trades, transport and equipment operators, which suggests a relatively slack labour market for these occupations.
  • About two-thirds of job vacancies require no more than a high school education, while nearly one-half (49%) of unemployed persons have a postsecondary education.


Date of publication: November 1, 2017


Publisher: Statistics Canada

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