OTTAWA, April 13 The Canadian job vacancy rate
edged higher in the fourth quarter compared to the year before
as the number of open positions rose in provinces that have had
the strongest labor markets, data from Statistics Canada showed
The national vacancy rate rose to 2.4 percent in the fourth
quarter of last year, up from 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter
of 2015. The vacancy rate measures the share of all available
jobs that are unfilled.
The number of jobs that were open jumped 6.3 percent to
374,895, led by a rise in vacancies in British Columbia, Ontario
and Quebec, three provinces that have had the largest employment
growth in the country, the statistics agency said.
"Clearly in those markets demand for labor has been quite
strong and, apparently, not entirely satisfied either," said
Robert Hogue, senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
"It's a sign of a fairly robust labor market."
Vacancies rose 21 percent in British Columbia, while its
vacancy rate rose to 3.3 percent. The province has had the
highest vacancy rate among the provinces since the third quarter
Higher vacancy rates often suggest economic growth. British
Columbia had the lowest unemployment rate in the country in
March at 5.4 percent, well below the national rate of 6.7
Quebec's vacancy rate rose to 1.8 percent, while Ontario's
increased to 2.6 percent, with the major city of Toronto
accounting for much of the increase in unfilled positions.
Strong job growth in Canada in recent months has suggested
the economy is turning a corner after being hit by a drop in oil
prices in 2015.
The fourth-quarter vacancy figures confirmed the labor
market had good momentum heading into 2017, Hogue said.
"We continue to expect that overall employment will continue
to grow moderately," he said.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)