Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Is Canada really short on workers? New numbers say otherwise

As of January, there were 6.5 unemployed Canadians for every job opening in the country, according to Statistics Canada. That’s up from a year earlier, when the ratio was 6.1 jobless people for every vacancy. (These numbers are based on three-month moving averages.).

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

For all the brouhaha over labour shortages, if anything, Canada's jobs market is showing signs of more slack.

As of January, there were 6.5 unemployed Canadians for every job opening in the country, according to Statistics Canada. That's up from a year earlier, when the ratio was 6.1 jobless people for every vacancy. (These numbers are based on three-month moving averages.)

It's not the only indicator showing a lull in the labour market. The Bank of Canada's business outlook survey shows the number of firms reporting labour shortages has fallen for two straight quarters, and is below historic averages, while employers shed 54,500 jobs last month, the most since the recession.

Story continues below advertisement

The evidence seem at odds with businesses and some organizations that say they're grappling with labour shortages. It suggests workers may not be able or willing to move to higher-demand regions, that companies may be having a tough time finding people with the right skills, or that they're not raising wages enough to entice them.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.