Canadian Job Postings Through May 29: A Bit of Progress to End the Month


Both total and new job postings on Indeed Canada ticked up last week.

This post is updated as of June 1, reflecting data through May 29. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • As of May 29th, the trend in total job postings on Indeed Canada stood at 45% below last year’s pace, showing modest progress compared to the 49% gap earlier in the month.
  • New postings had an even stronger week, standing 37% below last year’s trend on May 29th, up 20 percentage points from May 3rd. Part of the narrower gap reflects a later Victoria Day in 2019, but this year’s trend saw a bit of improvement as well.  
  • Gaps in new job postings compared to last year’s trends are narrowing relatively quickly in B.C. and Alberta, while the spread is widest in Ontario. Sectors like loading and stocking, construction, and retail, are now showing stronger than average momentum in hiring appetite, though their new posting trends remain subdued compared to last year. 

Total job postings on Indeed Canada ticked up last week, as of Friday, May 22nd, standing 45% below last year’s trend. Overall hiring interest remains quite subdued compared to last year, but has shown some modest improvement in May.

Helping push the total posting trend a bit higher was renewed momentum in new job postings, that have been on Indeed a week or less. The gap in new postings relative to last year’s trend had consistently been wider than for total postings throughout the crisis, rebounding somewhat after mid-April, but following a much sharper drop. The situation finally changed last week, with the trend in new postings standing 37% below last year’s trend on May 29th, a narrowing of 13 percentage points from two weeks prior, and 20 percentage points since May 3rd.  

One caveat to this progress is that new postings can be volatile, and influenced by temporary factors. For instance, some of the relative improvement over the past week reflects a temporary dip in last year’s trend surrounding Victoria Day, which landed later in the month than this year. Nonetheless, there was progress in the level of this year’s trend too, which hit a new post-COVID high. Further gains in new postings will be key to drive total job postings higher, and for improving the outlook for Canadian job seekers.

New postings gaps closing fastest in B.C. and Alberta 

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. B.C. and Alberta have made the most progress compared to their 2019 trends, with momentum in hiring appetite now looking more similar to less populous provinces. Quebec’s new postings gap is somewhat larger than the national average, partly due to a particularly strong 2019, while the rate new postings are being added in Ontario lags furthest from last year.

New postings making progress across a wide range of sectors

In recent weeks we’ve highlighted sectors where total job postings have held up better than others. Such areas where opportunities have held steadier include parts of the health care sector, security and public safety, as well as software development. However with new job postings showing some progress over the past month relative to last year, this week we focus on areas of the economy starting to show momentum, as well as those that aren’t.

While still lagging last year’s trends, a wide range of sectors have seen new job posting trends start to close these gaps, by similar or greater degrees than the overall average. Areas displaying stronger than average momentum at the end of May include loading and stocking, which include warehouse workers, IT operations and helpdesk, which include systems administrators and technical support staff, construction, and retail. In all four sectors, both the trend in new job postings stands closer to last year than the economy-wide average, and the gap has also shrunk more over the past month. 

Not quite as strong, but still showing some progress are sectors where new postings look more similar to the national average. In this group falls cleaning and sanitation, which includes cleaners and housekeepers, installation and maintenance, which includes technicians and mechanics, as well as project management, and food preparation and service, the latter showing some improvement after experiencing a particularly large decline in total postings.  

Lastly, momentum in hiring appetite remains quite soft across several areas of the economy, with new postings both further from trend than average, and the gap not showing much improvement over the past month. Some are white collar sectors, like legal services, as well as banking and finance, while others are sectors that face particular challenges in a time of social distancing, like hospitality and tourism, and aviation. 

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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