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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

January 09, 2019

Statistics Canada has released its quarterly job vacancy and wage survey (unadjusted for seasonality) for the third quarter of 2018. This data provides insight into what portion of jobs in a particular region, sector or occupation are vacant.  It also provides information on the wages offered and specific requirements for each type of vacant job.  A higher job vacancy rate indicates a tighter labour market where it is more difficult for employers to find suitable candidates for the positions offered.  A lower job vacancy rate signals labour market slack and potentially more job seekers competing for each vacant position. 

Nova Scotia's job vacancy rate was 2.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, representing 11,560 job vacancies.  This is higher than the 2.5 per cent vacancy rate observed in the third quarter of 2017.  The national job vacancy rate was 3.3 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.  The average wage offered for a vacant position in 2018Q3 was $17.70 per hour in Nova Scotia, down from $17.75 in 2017Q3.  The national average increased by $1.05 to $20.95 in year over year terms.  

Compared to the third quarter of 2017, the vacancy rate increased in all provinces.  The largest increase was in Prince Edward Island (+0.8 percentage points), followed by Quebec (+0.7 percentage points).  Quebec, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick saw the largest increases (in percentage terms) in the number of job vacancies in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017.  The average wage offered for vacant positions rose in all provinces except Nova Scotia, where it declined.  The largest increase compared to 2017Q3 was in BC (+$1.75).

Among Nova Scotia's economic regions, the job vacancy rates were highest in Halifax and lowest in the Cape Breton Shore region. The average wages offered for vacant positions were highest in Halifax and lowest in the Annapolis Valley.  

Across sectors, Nova Scotia's job vacancy rates were lower than the national average in every category except wholesale trade, professional / technical services, admin, health care and accommodations and food services in the third quarter of 2018.  Compared to the national average, the wages offered for vacant positions in Nova Scotia were lower for every category. Note that suppressed data is labeled as 'N/A'.

Of the 11,560 job vacancies reported in Nova Scotia during the third quarter of 2018, 37.4 per cent were in sales and service occupations.  The wages offered for vacant Nova Scotia occupations were lower than the national average in every occupational category for which data were available. 

Nearly two-thirds of vacant positions in Nova Scotia during the third quarter of 2018 required high school or lower levels of education.  The wages offered for these positions were lower than for those requiring more education.  The highest wages were offered for those with university education beyond a bachelor's level, which had the smallest number of vacancies.  

Most vacant positions had required less than one year of experience.  Those vacant positions also offered lower wages compared to those with higher experience requirements. Vacancies requiring 8 or more years of experience represented only 150 vacancies in the third quarter, offering the highest average wage.

JVWS data are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, quarter-to-quarter comparisons should be interpreted with caution as they may reflect seasonal movements.

Note: The data referenced above is from the quarterly Job Vacancy and Wages survey (JVWS). Statistics Canada also publishes monthly job vacancy data in from the Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS) component of the Survey of Payroll Employment and Hours. Due to differences in the target population and sample sizes, the job vacancies reported in the JVWS tend to be higher than those reported in the JVS.

Statistics Canada: CANSIM tables 14-10-0325-0114-10-0326-01, 14-10-0356-01, and 14-10-0328-01 

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