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Canadian Job Postings Through August 21: Slight Uptick

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A bit of movement after a flat two weeks.

This post is updated as of August 24, reflecting data through August 21. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • As of August 21st, the trend in total job postings on Indeed Canada stood at 25% below last year’s trend, a slight uptick from the week prior. Progress had paused earlier in August, following a steady recovery over the prior three months.
  • The gap in new postings widened a tad to 14% below 2019’s path, from -13% a week earlier, similar to where it was a month prior. 
  • Postings for mid- and higher-wage jobs are a bit closer to 2019 trends than they are for lower-wage positions, which have to contend with stronger growth that was occurring at this time last year. 
  • Posting gaps are generally smallest in sectors which typically require people to actually visit their workplace, such as in healthcare, construction, and loading and stocking. 

Total job postings on Indeed Canada edged up compared to last year’s trend, as of Friday, August 21st, standing 25% below 2019 levels. The gap was -26% the previous Friday, up from -49% in early May. The recovery in the postings trend relative to last year had paused over the first two weeks of August, after steady progress over the prior three months. Last week’s uptick suggests the lull early in the month wasn’t the start of a backslide in labour demand. 

The slower pace of recovery in total postings in recent weeks reflects relatively flat momentum in new postings. The trend in new postings widened very slightly to 14% below last year’s level, roughly where it stood a month prior, from 13% the previous Friday. The pace that new job postings are being added is a key driver of total postings, and by extension, the amount of opportunities available to Canadian job seekers. New postings are currently closer to last year’s trend than total postings, helping drive the latter’s recovery. However, unless they can catch some renewed momentum, it will be hard to get total postings all the way back to normal. 

Most provinces have seen recovery in total postings compared to last year edge in the right direction since the start of August. Gaps narrowed slightly in Ontario, B.C., Manitoba, and Alberta, while Quebec made a bit more progress, it’s wider-than-average gap reflecting particularly strong trends in 2019. Meanwhile, as Saskatchewan has made substantial progress returning to normal, posting gaps widened in most of Atlantic Canada, where trends had been previously closer to last year than average. 

Postings for mid- and higher wage jobs closer to last years trend

Higher wage job-types saw postings fall less compared to last year’s trend earlier in the crisis, but through mid-July, low and mid-wage roles had sharper rebounds, bringing them similar distance to their 2019 levels. More recently though, the gap in trend has been narrowing at a slower pace among lower wage jobs than others. As a result, the gap in trend for postings of lower-wage jobs was 29% below 2019 levels on August 21st, compared to -24% for both mid- and high-wage roles. 

This slower recovery in lower-paying postings compared to last year isn’t coming from a weaker rebound in 2020. In fact, between July 31, and August 21, postings for lower-wage jobs were up more than others. The issue is that during the same period in 2019, postings for lower-wage jobs were rising at an even faster rate, keeping the gap in trends relatively large. For example, while postings in retail were up over the past three weeks, their gap compared to last year’s trend widened slightly. This highlights the importance of taking into account seasonal factors when assessing economic trends as we transition from summer to fall. 

Postings closer to normal in non-remote sectors 

While posting trends are a bit further from 2019 among lower wage jobs, gaps have still returned to normal across a variety of sectors. Following major rebounds, posting trends are basically back to normal in construction, as well as loading and stocking (which include warehouse workers and back-of-house retail roles). In addition, posting trends in both nursing as well as personal care and home health, which didn’t fall much earlier in the pandemic, are either at, or just shy of, their 2019 levels. One point in common across these sectors is that they feature jobs that usually aren’t done remotely. 

Meanwhile, a wide range of areas are tracking the broader rebound in economy-wide postings. Among these sectors are civil engineering, information design and documentation (which includes jobs in data analysis and cyber security), and retail. Like the broader economy, these areas have made substantial progress in recent months, but still have a ways to go to return to normal.

Lastly, several of the sectors where postings are furthest from their 2019 trends were particularly hit by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism, and aviation (the sector furthest from last year’s trend), as well certain white-collar sectors like legal services and marketing. These latter areas often hire based on longer-term considerations, and therefore might be holding out on looking to add new workers until there’s greater certainty in the economic outlook. 

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.