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.
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.