Coronavirus

Canadian Job Postings Through September 4: Steady Recovery

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There remains a way to go, but postings continue to move in the right direction.

This post is updated as of September 8, reflecting data through September 4. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • As of September 4th, total job postings on Indeed Canada stood at 22% below last year’s trend, a modest improvement from the week prior. 
  • The gap in new postings, which can be volatile, narrowed to just 3% below 2019’s path, from -17% a week earlier, mostly due to a dip in last year’s trend. 
  • Posting trends are now back to normal in sectors like construction, loading and stocking, and areas of health care, while several pandemic-exposed industries and certain white collar sectors lag behind. 

Total job postings on Indeed Canada edged up compared to last year’s trend, as of Friday, September 4th, standing 22% below 2019 levels. The gap was -23% the previous Friday, up from -49% in early May. The gap in postings narrowed for a third straight week after pausing in early August, a sign that Canadian labour demand hasn’t yet plateaued in its gradual, yet still incomplete recovery.  

Helping drive the recovery in total postings, was momentum in new postings, which jumped up to 3% below last year’s trend, from -17% a week earlier. While most of the narrowing was due to a fall back in the 2019 path to start September (partly influenced by an earlier Labour Day), this year’s trend in new postings still edged up, reaching its highest pace since early March. The rate 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. If they can maintain recent momentum, total postings should continue to move in the right direction.

While progress was a bit even, all provinces saw their total postings gaps compared to last year narrow between August 7th and September 4th. P.E.I, Saskatchewan, and Quebec gained the most ground, while Ontario and Alberta evolved similarly to the national average. Recent momentum has been a bit softer in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which had previously been among the provincial leaders.

Large posting gains for construction, as well as transport and warehousing jobs 

With the rebound in job postings entering its fifth month, hiring appetite in certain areas has actually returned to normal. Postings are back to their 2019 trends in construction, as well as loading and stocking (which include warehouse workers and back-of-house retail roles), while customer service has seen postings increase over the past month. Nursing postings also increased relative to last year, and are now running above 2019’s pace. 

Meanwhile, gaps in posting trends are pretty similar to the economy-wide average across a wide-range of sectors. These range from driving, to education and instruction, both which made substantial progress over the past month. Postings for jobs in installation and maintenance as well as civil engineering are also similar distances from last year’s trend as the headline numbers. 

Lastly, several of the sectors where postings are furthest from their 2019 trends were particularly hit by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism, and food preparation and service. Postings in food services are in fact up significantly from their early pandemic lows, but still look quite weak compared to their much stronger pace last year. Also lagging behind are certain white-collar sectors like legal services and human resources. 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.

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