Coronavirus

Canadian Job Postings Through May 22: Still Waiting for a Breakout


Slight progress in mid-May, but still a long way to go.

This post is updated as of May 27, reflecting data through May 22. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • As of May 22nd, the trend in total job postings on Indeed Canada stood at 47% below last year’s pace, while the new posting trend was down 48%, both slight upticks from a week earlier.
  • B.C. saw some improvement in its new postings gap last week, and the province’s trend relative to 2019 is now starting to resemble less populous regions.

Total job postings on Indeed Canada edged up slightly for a second week, as of Friday, May 22nd, standing 47% below last year’s trend. The trend stood 49% below 2019 levels between April 19th and May 9th, and hasn’t made much progress since.

The relatively minor narrowing in the total postings gap has been aided by a more substantial rebound in new postings that have been on Indeed a week or less. After plunging through mid-April, new postings have bounced back somewhat, standing 48% below their 2019 trend on May 22nd, up from -66% on April 10th. Overall, we’re still waiting for signs of a real breakout in employer hiring appetite. New job postings have perked up, but remain far below last year’s trend, and not yet substantially exceeding the pace at which existing job postings are being filled or taken down. 

New postings in B.C. closing the gap vs. last year, showing similarities with smaller provinces 

With all provinces moving towards some form of gradual re-opening, the gap in new postings compared to last year has narrowed since mid-April across the country. New posting trends in recent weeks have generally run closest to 2019 levels in smaller provinces. However, this pattern changed slightly last week, with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia weakening somewhat, while B.C.’s gap narrowed somewhat. At the other end, trends in new postings are lagging 2019’s path to a greater degree in Ontario and Quebec, the provinces that have seen both the worst COVID-19 outbreaks and the largest drops in hours worked since February.

Job postings trends holding up better than average in healthcare, security, and software development 

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 47% from 2019, the sectors doing “relatively well” are ones with gaps down 40% or less 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.

Methodology

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.

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