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Canadian Job Postings Through February 12: Getting Back to Normal

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Job postings showing solid momentum after a temporary hiccup to start the year

Key points 

  • Total job postings on Indeed Canada were down just 1% on February 12, compared to early February 2020. 
  • Activity dipped at the start of the year, but has bounced back since, and strong new posting numbers suggests further momentum. 
  • Postings are up from last February in all provinces except Ontario, B.C., and Alberta.
  • Hiring appetite remains mixed across sectors, with strength in areas like healthcare, banking and finance, 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 February 12, total job postings on Indeed Canada were down just 1% from their February 1, 2020 levels, after adjusting for seasonal trends. This level matches where postings stood in late December, when job posting activity was strong for that time of year, fully rebounding from a dip at the start of January (a time when economic data is volatile). Overall, job postings are up a solid 12 percentage points since the start of November, despite Canadian employment easing since then

Line graph titled “Canadian job postings at pre-crisis level.” With a vertical axis ranging from -50% to 10%, Indeed tracked the percent change in total Canada job postings between February 1, 2020 and February 12, 2021. As of February 12, total job postings on Indeed Canada were down just 1% from their February 1, 2020 levels. Caption added post-publication.

Recent growth in total job postings has been driven by solid momentum in the number of new job postings being added to Indeed Canada. As of February 12, new job postings were up 13% from the start of February 2020, substantially exceeding the seasonally adjusted pre-pandemic rate for the first time since the crisis began. It appears many employers are looking through the second wave’s hit to the economy, and 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.

Line graph titled “New postings being added at a solid pace.” With a vertical axis ranging from -80% to 20%, Indeed tracked the percent change in total Canada job postings between February 1, 2020 and February 12, 2021. As of February 12, new job postings were up 13% from the start of February 2020. Caption added post-publication.

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, and Saskatchewan, which have also shown strong momentum since the fall. Meanwhile, Quebec stands out among the four larger provinces, with postings up from where they stood last February. On the flip-side, the gap relative to last February is widest in Ontario, while B.C., and Alberta also haven’t fully recovered. 

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 February 12, 2021, across all provinces. Job postings are stronger compared to pre-pandemic levels in smaller provinces, especially in Atlantic Canada, and Saskatchewan. 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 strong in banking and finance, construction, as well as production and manufacturing.

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 February 12, 2021, across various sectors divided into sections “Stronger than average,” “Similar to average.” and “Weaker than average.” Postings in some areas are now 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 community and social service, as well as cleaning and sanitation, stand just shy of their early February 2020 levels, similar to the overall job postings. Joining this group more recently are white collar areas like marketing and accounting, which had previously been lagging the broader recovery.

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.