Canadian Job Postings Through May 15: Slow Progress
Total and new job postings remain down by almost half compared to last year’s trends.
This post is updated as of May 19, reflecting data through May 15. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market.
Total job postings on Indeed Canada edged up slightly last week, as of Friday May 15th standing 48% below last year’s trend. The trend had stood 49% below 2019 levels throughout the prior three weeks. The slight narrowing of the total postings gap since the start of May reflects upticks in most of the smaller provinces as well as Alberta, and slight progress in Ontario and B.C., while the gap in Quebec remained steady.
The minor narrowing in total postings gap has been aided by a moderate rebound in new postings that have been on Indeed a week or less. After declining even more than total postings through mid-April, new postings have bounced back somewhat, as of May 15th standing 49% below their 2019 trend, up from -66% on April 10th. Overall, this suggests momentum in hiring appetite has perked up, but remains well below its typical trend, and isn’t yet substantially exceeding the pace at which existing job postings are being filled or taken down.
New posting trends stronger in smaller provinces
With all provinces moving towards some form of gradual re-opening, the gap in new postings compared to last year has narrowed across the country. New postings in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, have all improved to the point they stand less than 40% below last year’s trend. At the other end, trends in new postings remain down over half from 2019 levels in Ontario and Quebec, the provinces that have seen both the worst COVID-19 outbreaks and the largest drops in hours worked since February. Meanwhile, momentum in hiring appetite in B.C. and Alberta stands in between less populous regions and Canada’s largest two provinces.
Personal services among the hardest hit, healthcare 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 48% from 2019, the sectors doing “relatively well” are ones with gaps down less than 40% 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 flip-side, many of the sectors seeing 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, job postings in marketing are also well below last year’s trend.
Lastly, 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), retail, as well as cleaning and sanitation have all seen comparable drop-offs in job posting trends relative to 2019 levels as the broader economy.
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.