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Canadian Job Postings Through October 16: Progress Slows, but Not Retreating

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Pace of improvement has cooled in October.

This post is updated as of October 20, reflecting data through October 16. We will be regularly updating this data as we track how COVID-19 impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • As of October 16, total job postings on Indeed Canada stood 15% below last year’s trend, minor improvement from the week prior. 
  • New job postings eased to 2% below last year’s trend after exceeding the 2019 path the week before.
  • While momentum has been a bit softer in October, the recent upswing in new COVID-19 cases hasn’t derailed the ongoing rebound in overall job postings.
  • That said, momentum has been weaker in certain pandemic-exposed sectors like food preparation and service, and sports, than the rest of the economy.

Total job postings on Indeed Canada held fairly steady compared to last year’s trend, as of Friday, October 16, standing 15% below 2019 levels, edging up slightly from the week prior. The minor closing of the gap reflected a slight uptick in this year’s trend combined with last year’s trend edging down. Progress has slowed a bit over the first half of October, after job postings had a strong showing September.

New postings cool, with Thanksgiving adding some volatility

The roughly flat total postings gap reflected a bit less momentum in new postings, which eased to 2% below last year’s trend, down from 4% above the week prior. The slight deterioration in relative new postings reflected declines in both years, surrounding Thanksgiving. Given the typical volatility in new postings around public holidays, it’s tough to take much away from these trends. Overall, the recent pace that new jobs are being posted has been sufficient to keep total postings moving in the right direction, but an upswing in new COVID-19 cases puts this progress in jeopardy.  

Momentum in Ontario and Quebec has cooled, but not stopped

Ontario and Quebec governments have responded to recent increases in COVID-19 cases with new restrictions on indoor dining and other activities that could potentially halt the rebound in job postings. However, so far they haven’t made much of a dent in their recoveries. While their postings trend relative to last year have narrowed a tad less than the national average over the past two weeks, they haven’t gone in reverse. Other provinces, except for Mantioba have also made progress in October. 

Food services struggling

Job postings continue to improve compared to last year across most sectors. That said, a few areas are showing weaker momentum. Included in this group are food preparation and service, as well as sports (which include fitness instructors), both vulnerable to a pickup in the pandemic, and resulting restrictions on activity. In contrast, momentum in other sectors that have also lagged the economy-wide recovery, like accounting and legal services, hasn’t softened.

Demand is stronger elsewhere. Postings in both nursing as well as loading and stocking are up in October, and now well above last year’s trend. Production and manufacturing jobs have also shown solid momentum, while construction’s improvement has paused, but at a solid level.  

Lastly, a range of sectors are following the economy-wide trend, showing improvement this month, though still yet to have fully recovered. Included in this group are several service and white collar areas like retail, administrative assistance, banking and finance, and management.

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.