Canadian Job Postings Through May 1: Holding Steady
Canadian job postings remain 49% below last years trend.
This post is updated as of May 5, reflecting data through May 1. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. This post uses updated methodology from previous posting updates, meaning results may not be directly comparable to previous versions.
Job postings on Indeed Canada held steady last week compared to 2019 for a second consecutive week. After declining precipitously between mid-March and mid-April, the trend in Canadian postings stood at 49% below last year’s level on May 1st, where it’s been since April 19th. The dramatic decline in employer hiring interest since the acceleration of the COVID-19 crisis looks to have plateaued, at least for now.
Helping keep total postings steady has been a modest rebound in new postings that have been on Indeed a week or less. After plunging to 70% below last year’s trend in mid-April, new postings have crept up over the past two weeks, the trend now standing at 53% below 2019 levels. The current pace at which employers are adding new job postings now appears to be sufficient to match the rate at which existing ones are being filled or taken down. However an additional pickup will likely be necessary for a material improvement in the outlook for Canadian job seekers. We’ll be watching closely for signs of further increases as provinces start gradually re-opening their economies.
Postings holding steady across provinces
Job postings have held steady across provinces in recent weeks. Besides P.E.I. (down 3.1 percentage points since April 17), no other province has seen its gap relative to last year move more than two percentage points in either direction since mid-April. Overall, declines have been slightly less in less-populous provinces, while Alberta remains furthest from last year’s trend, where the economy is dealing with both the COVID-19 shock, and knock-on effects from the recent plunge in oil prices.
Personal services among the hardest hit, health care among the least
At the broad sectoral level, job posting trends are tracking below 2019 levels across the entire Canadian economy. With the economy-wide posting trend down 49% from 2019, the sectors doing “relatively well” are ones with gaps down less than 35% from last year’s path. Continuing patterns seen in recent weeks, hiring intentions have held up to a greater degree in areas of the healthcare sector, like personal care and home health, which employs support workers and healthcare aides, as well as in nursing. Job posting trends have also declined less than average in security and public safety (which includes security guards), as well as in software development.
On the flipside, many of the sectors that have seen the largest drop-offs in posting trends are in personal services requiring face-to-face interaction. These include hospitality and tourism, food preparation and service, as well as beauty and wellness (which include massage therapists and hairstylists). With consumer spending down across many areas of the economy, job postings in marketing are also down sharply compared to last year’s trend.
Meanwhile, posting trends have followed a similar path as the overall economy across a range of sectors. Banking and finance, arts and entertainment (which includes artists and designers), and civil engineering. Neither finance nor construction, saw particularly large employment declines in the March Labour Force Survey, suggesting job losses in the April numbers could be broader based than the month prior. Lastly, the posting trend for retail-related positions is down similarly to the national average, likely reflecting sharp declines at non-essential retailers, including at shopping malls, partly offset by demand for grocery store workers.
The public health situation and its economic spillovers continue to change on a daily basis. We’ll be regularly updating this data as conditions evolve.
To measure the trends in job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of job postings on Indeed Canada. We index each day’s 7-day moving average to the start of February (Feb 1, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on).
We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labor market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings increased 30% from February 1, 2019, to April 10, 2019, but only 20% from February 1, 2020, to April 10, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 130 in 2019 and 100 to 120 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 7.7% on April 10 (120 is 7.7% below 130) in 2020 relative to 2019.
For new postings, we calculate a similar metric but the underlying measure is the number of postings that have been on Indeed for seven days or less.
Information based on publicly available information on the Indeed Canada website (and other countries named in the post), limited to Canada, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.
Brendon Bernard is an Economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, focusing on the Canadian labour market. His research interests include analyzing how detailed trends in the job market fit in with broader developments in the Canadian economy. Brendon was previously an economist with Department of Finance Canada, where he focused on analyzing Canadian financial sector policy and the U.S. economy. He holds a Master’s in Economics from the Vancouver School of Economics at University of British Columbia, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Queen’s University.