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Canada reports record high job vacancies in Q1 as unemployment shrinks

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Latest numbers show a job vacancy rate of 5.6 per cent, continuing an upward trend since the first quarter of 2016

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Jun 21, 2022  •  26 minutes ago  •  1 minute read  •  A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto. A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette files

Canada is reporting its highest quarterly job vacancies on record, with 957,500 open positions in the first quarter of 2022 — up 2.7 per cent from the previous peak last quarter.

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The latest numbers, released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday, showed a job vacancy rate of 5.6 per cent, continuing an upward trend since the first quarter of 2016.

The agency said that while the job vacancy rate did continue to increase, the pace has slowed as payroll employment recovered in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Vacancies reached all-time highs in some sectors, including in the health care and social assistance sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

That sector posted a record of 136,800 job vacancies in the first quarter, up five per cent or 6,600 opening from the previous quarter.

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Among health occupations, the increases in vacant positions in nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, and licensed practical nurses accounted for 67.7 per cent of the overall vacancies.

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Other sectors such as construction and manufacturing and retail trade also reached new highs.

The construction sector saw a 7.1 per cent jump from the fourth quarter of 2021, with employers actively seeking to fill 81,500 vacant positions in the first quarter, while the manufacturing and retail trade sectors peaked at 87,400 vacancies, up 5.3 per cent from the previous quarter.

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Meanwhile, unemployment is shrinking. Statistics Canada reported the unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio of 1.3 in the first quarter, down from 2.2 in the same quarter of 2020.

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