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Press release from CNW Group

Canadian job market increasingly a tale of have and have not occupations: CIBC

Monday, December 03, 2012

Canadian job market increasingly a tale of have and have not occupations: CIBC09:49 EST Monday, December 03, 2012Some occupations find employers lining up to hire while others face the prospect of chronic unemploymentTORONTO, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's job market shows a growing divide between have and have not occupations, finds a new report from CIBC World Markets."On one hand, jobs go unfilled for long stretches due to a lack of skilled applicants," says CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal. "In fact, the Prime Minister recently described skills shortages in the Canadian labour market as 'the biggest challenge our country faces'."But on the other end of the labour market spectrum, there is growing evidence that the size of the labour surplus pool is also on the rise. For a number of occupations, employment opportunities are increasingly disappearing. This labour market mismatch is big enough not only to reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy, but also to limit the growth potential of the labour market and the economy as a whole."In his analysis, Mr. Tal found that traditional occupations like butchers, bakers, tailors, labourers in manufacturing, office managers and clerks are showing signs of labour surplus, along with secondary and elementary school teachers.He found that the occupations with signs of skills shortages include many positions in traditional health care roles, such as doctors, nurses and dentists. The health care list also includes optometrists, chiropractors, pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists. Mining, engineering and science occupations are also facing skill shortages.Skill ShortagesNo less than 30 per cent of businesses indicate that they face a skilled labour shortage, which is double the rate seen in early 2010. "The recent acceleration in that ratio has coincided with a stagnating employment rate—loosely illustrating the negative impact of skill shortages on employment growth," notes Mr. Tal. "What's more, while you will not see it in the relatively stable trajectory of the unemployment rate, the number of job vacancies reported by firms has risen by close to 16 per cent over the past year—bringing the vacancy-to-unemployment ratio to its highest level since Statistics Canada started publishing vacancy information. It is hardly a surprise that the highest vacancy rate is in Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan."Mr. Tal identified 25 job groups that have shown signs of consistent skill shortages. By far, the largest skill shortage was found in health-related occupations, the mining industry, advanced manufacturing and business services. Put together, those occupations account for 21 per cent of total employment in Canada. "One-fifth of the Canadian labour market is currently showing signs of skilled labour shortage," says Mr. Tal. "The average unemployment rate of this pool of occupations is just over one per cent and their wages are now rising by an average annual rate of 3.9 per cent — more than double the rate seen in the economy as a whole."Overall employment in this group is rising by 2.1 per cent — much faster than the speed seen in the rest of the market, but obviously not fast enough to dent the labour market skill scarcity. In this context, the recently announced government plans to admit between 53,000 and 55,000 new Canadians in 2013 through an overhauled federal skilled worker program is a welcome development. However, it's simply not large enough to turn things around. Ditto for the increased focus on apprenticeship as a possible solution to the chronic shortage in skilled trades. Despite recent program improvements, the number of certificates granted to apprentices is still a fraction of the overall size of the skilled trades labour pool."Labour SurplusAt the opposite end of the labour spectrum, Mr. Tal identified 20 occupations that were in a surplus category as demonstrated by higher/rising unemployment rate and decelerating wage growth. These jobs account for 16 per cent of total unemployment in Canada while their real wage growth was nil over the past year. Excluding this pool of unemployed, the national unemployment rate would have been almost 1.3 percentage points lower.The average duration of unemployment in Canada currently stands at 16 weeks, which is five weeks above the prerecession level. There are currently 250,000 Canadians who have been unemployed for over six months - 18 per cent of total unemployment in Canada."Clearly the larger this measure is, the more serious are the policy and economic implications of a given unemployment rate," adds Mr. Tal. "Longer term unemployment was on a clear downward trend over the past two years, but its current rate is still notably higher than its long-term average. That is mostly the case among Canadians over the age of 45, suggesting that retraining must be an integral part of any solution."The practical implication of the growing job market mismatch in the Canadian economy is that this measure of long-term unemployment is more likely to start rising from its already elevated level. In fact, the exit rate from unemployment (the likelihood of exiting unemployment, for a job or for some other reason, within the coming three months after being unemployed for less than three months) is starting to head in the wrong direction, implying an upcoming upward pressure on long-term unemployment."25 Occupations Showing Signs of Skills Shortages20 Occupations Showing Signs of Labour SurplusManagers in engineering, architecture, science & info systemsManagers in manufacturing and utilitiesManagers in health, education, social and community servicesClerical supervisorsManagers in construction and transportationClerical occupationsAuditors, accountants and investment professionalsClerical occupations, general office skillsHuman resources and business service professionalsOffice equipment operatorsProfessional occupations in natural and applied sciencesFinance and insurance clerksPhysical science professionalsMail and message distribution occupationsLife science professionalsSecondary & elementary teachers and counsellorsCivil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineersSales and service supervisorsOther engineersCashiersProfessional occupations in healthOccupations in food and beverage servicesPhysicians, dentists and veterinariansTour & recreational guides and amusement occupationsOptometrists, chiropractors & other health diagnosing/treating professionalsOther attendants in travel, accommodation and recreationPharmacists, dietitians and nutritionistsTechnical occupations in personal serviceTherapy and assessment professionalsOther occupations in personal serviceNurse supervisors and registered nursesButchers & bakersTechnical and related occupations in healthUpholsterers, tailors, shoe repairers, jewellers and related occupationsMedical technologists and technicians (except dental health)Fishing vessel masters and skippers and fishermen/womenTechnical occupations in dental health careMachine operators & related workers in metal/mineral products processingOther technical occupations in health care (except dental)Machine operators & related workers in pulp & paper production & wood processingPsychologists, social workers, counsellors, clergy and probation officersSupervisors, mining, oil and gas  Underground miners, oil and gas drillers and related workers  Supervisors in manufacturing  Supervisors, processing occupations  The complete CIBC World Markets report is available at:'s wholesale banking business provides a range of integrated credit and capital markets products, investment banking, and merchant banking to clients in key financial markets in North America and around the world. We provide innovative capital solutions and advisory expertise across a wide range of industries as well as top-ranked research for our corporate, government and institutional clients.  SOURCE: CIBCFor further information: Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets Inc. at (416) 956-3698, or Kevin Dove, Communications and Public Affairs at 416-980-8835,