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Canada Has A Record 361,700 Unfilled Jobs. Here’s Where They Are

For those seeking work, this may be as good as it gets.
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Looking for a job? Try British Columbia.

The west coast province has Canada's highest rate of unfilled, available jobs, according to a new survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

In all, there were 60,100 unfilled jobs in B.C. in the third quarter of the year, for a job vacancy rate of 3.4 per cent, the highest in the country. In Canada as a whole, the number of unfilled jobs hit a record high of 361,700, the CFIB said in a report issued this week.

The nationwide job vacancy rate rose to 2.8 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent a year earlier and the highest level since before the financial crisis of 2008-09, the CFIB said.

For those seeking work, this may be as good as it gets.

Canada's unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 per cent, the lowest since 2008. The economy added an impressive 390,000 net new jobs over the past year, a 2.1-per-cent increase — faster than population growth.

"Labour shortages are again becoming a major hindrance to businesses across the country, especially small firms," said CFIB's chief economist, Ted Mallett.

Watch: The top jobs in Canada for 2017

There were 85,000 unfilled jobs Quebec, where the unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest it's ever been on record. Even recession-hit Alberta had 33,900 unfilled jobs, though its vacancy rate "is still recovering from the recent oil price crunch," CFIB's report says.

In all, seven provinces had more unfilled jobs in the third quarter than in the the quarter before. Three provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island saw no change in their job vacancy rates.

Looking at specific industries, the personal services field seems to have the largest shortage of workers, followed by construction.

Good news and bad news

The good news for job-seekers is that employers are planning to start raising wages, Mallett told HuffPost Canada this week.

"Over the past year, wage plans have increased and pricing plans have increased," he said.

And that's where the bad news comes in — companies are also planning raise prices, to offset the higher cost of labour. In short, inflation may soon be making a comeback.

Mallett wants the government to "take action" to make sure businesses aren't left without the employees they need.

He wants there to be "a continued focus on the trainability of workers in the economy," and he is also calling on the government to loosen some of the restrictions of the Temporary Foreign Worker program — though he does concede that "there has been some abuse" of the program by employers in the past.

"Ensuring that we've got an adequately mobile workforce is important as well," Mallett added. He said government should look to expand the ways it encourages people to relocate, as it does already with the tax deduction for moving expenses.

"We should be encouraging employees to look further afield," he said.

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