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Canadian Job Postings Through January 29: Upward Trend Resumes After a New Year’s Dip

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Overall job postings are nearing last year’s level, but remain quite mixed across sector.

Key Points

  • Total job postings on Indeed Canada were down 6% on January 29, compared to the start of February 2020. 
  • Activity dipped at the start of the year following a relatively strong December, but by late January postings were moving back towards last year’s level.
  • Compared to last year, job postings are doing relatively well in Quebec and smaller provinces, while Ontario lags.
  • Hiring appetite remains mixed across sectors, with strength in areas like healthcare, software development, and construction, while postings are weak in several pandemic-exposed services. 

We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labor market. Our methodology changed at the start of 2021, as explained in the methodology note at the end of the post.

As of January 29, total job postings on Indeed Canada were down 6% from their February 1, 2020 levels, after adjusting for seasonal trends. This level is down from late December, when job posting activity was strong for that time of year. However following a dip at the start  of January (a time when economic data is often volatile), seasonally-adjusted postings have since rebounded to where they stood in early December, and remain up a solid 7 percentage points from the start of November. 

Line chart titled “Momentum in Canadian job postings resumes after New Year’s dip.” With a vertical axis ranging from -50% to 10%, Indeed tracked the percent change in total Canada job postings between February 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021. s of January 29, total job postings on Indeed Canada were down 6% from their February 1, 2020 levels. Caption added post-publication.

Canadian job postings have made a substantial rebound since bottoming at 47% below their pre-crisis level last spring. While the second wave has slowed the labour market’s recovery, it appears many employers are looking ahead to a brighter outlook later this year. Further growth in employment opportunities will likely be important in helping the elevated number of jobless Canadians find new work. 

Employer demand elevated in Atlantic Canada, while Quebec leads larger provinces

Across Canada, job postings are generally stronger compared to pre-pandemic levels in smaller provinces, especially in Atlantic Canada. Meanwhile, Quebec stands out among the four larger provinces, with postings up slightly from where they stood last February. On the flip-side, the gap relative to last February is widest in Ontario. 

Bar chart titled “Job postings have rebounded most in Atlantic Canada, least in Ontario. Indeed compared the change in Canada job postings between February 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021, across all provinces. Job postings are generally stronger compared to pre-pandemic levels in smaller provinces, especially in Atlantic Canada. Caption added post-publication.

Job postings strong in some sectors, still weak in pandemic-exposed areas

The strength of employer hiring appetite varies widely depending on where you look. Postings in some areas are now well above where they were in early 2020. Nursing stands out in particular. Not only did demand not plunge as much as other areas last spring, but postings have actually surged in recent months. Momentum has also been quite strong in software development. Meanwhile, though progress has been less in recent months, job postings remain solid in areas like loading and stocking, as well as construction.

Bar chart titled “Pandemic-exposed sectors lagging posting recoveries elsewhere.” Indeed compared the percent change in total Canada job postings between February 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021, across various sectors divided into sections “Stronger than average,” “Similar to average.” and “Weaker than average.” As of January 29, 2021, postings in some areas were well above where they were in early 2020. Caption added post-publication.

On the flip-side, job postings remain quite weak in several pandemic-exposed sectors like food preparation and service, beauty and wellness, as well as sports. Not only are these areas down in terms of postings levels, but they’ve slid back further in recent months, as the pandemic’s second wave has cut further into employer demand.

Lastly, job postings in a wide range of sectors — such as driving, installation and maintenance, and management — stand a similar distance from their February 2020 levels as the 6% gap in economy-wide postings.  

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

All figures in this blogpost are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since February 1, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. February 1, 2020, is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately. 

We adopted this new methodology in January 2021 and now use it to report all historical data. Historical numbers have been revised and may differ significantly from originally reported values. The new methodology applies a detrended seasonal adjustment factor to the percentage change in job postings. In contrast, our previous methodology used the 2019 change between February 1 and the reported date as the adjustment factor, which implicitly included both a seasonality component and the underlying trend. 

This blogpost is based on publicly available information on the Indeed Canada website and any other countries if named in the post. Unless specified otherwise, it is limited to Canada, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.