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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

September 20, 2019

Statistics Canada has released its quarterly job vacancy and wage survey (unadjusted for seasonality) for the second quarter of 2019. This release provides data on the portion of jobs in a particular region, sector or occupation that are vacant.  It also provides information on the wages offered on vacant positions as well as education and experience requirements.  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 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2019, representing 13,100 job vacancies (these data are unadjusted for seasonality and typically report more labour market slack in the winter months).

Nova Scotia's job vacancy rate is slightly higher than the 3.0 per cent vacancy rate (11,910 vacancies) observed at the same time in 2018. The national job vacancy rate was 3.5 per cent, up from 3.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. 

Across Canada, Q2 2019 job vacancy rates were highest in British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. The lowest job vacancy rates were reported in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba. Compared to Q2 2018, vacancy rates increased the most in Quebec, followed by Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Vacancy rates declined or stayed the same in all other provinces, with the largest decline in Prince Edward Island.

The average wage offered for a vacant position in Q2 2019 was $18.00 per hour in Nova Scotia, up from $16.95 in Q2 2018. The national average wage offered increased by $0.65 over Q2 2018, to $21.30 per hour.

Compared with Q2 2018, Nova Scotia had the third highest growth in average wage offered on vacant positions, with the average wage offered increasing by 6.2 per cent ($1.05). Average wages offered on vacant positions declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan. Average wages on vacant positions are highest in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia, and lowest in the Maritime provinces.

Among Nova Scotia's economic regions, the Q2 2019 job vacancy rates were highest in the North Shore, Annapolis Valley and Halifax, and lowest in Cape Breton and Southern Nova Scotia. There has been notable tightening of labour markets over the last year in the North Shore and Annapolis Valley. The 1.1 percentage point increase in the job vacancy rate in the North Shore region was one of the largest increases among Canada’s 69 economic regions. 

Compared with Q2 2018, average wages on vacant positions increased the most in Cape Breton (+2.15/hour), followed by the Annapolis Valley (+2.10/hour) and Southern Nova Scotia (+$2.00/hour).

Across sectors with available data, Nova Scotia's Q2 2019 job vacancy rates were lower than the national average in every category except health care/social assistance, transportation, arts/entertainment/recreation and accommodation/food services. Suppressed data are labeled as 'n/a'.

Compared to the national average, the wages offered for vacant positions in Nova Scotia were lower for all sectors in Q2 2019, with the largest wage differences found in public administration, finance/insurance and construction.

Across sectors with available data, Nova Scotia's job vacancy rates have increased the most over the last year (Q2 2019 vs Q2 2018) in information/cultural industries, arts/entertainment/recreation, management of companies, and public administration. Vacancy rates declined the most in accommodation/food services, real estate and rental services, and education.

Nova Scotia's average hourly wages on vacant positions are highest in utilities as well as mining/oil/gas.  The fastest wage gains (Q2 2019 vs Q2 2018) were in finance/insurance, real estate and rentals, education, professional/technical services and utilities. Average wages offered on vacant positions fell in retail trade, arts/entertainment/recreation, information/cultural and construction.

Of the 13,100 job vacancies reported in Nova Scotia during Q2 2019, the largest number (4,795) were in sales and service occupations. Sales/service vacancies increased 10.9 per cent compared to the same period last year.  Vacancies for education/law/community/government occupations increased the most in percentage terms. Vacancies are also up for health care, natural/applied sciences, manufacturing/utilities, and trades/transport/equipment occupations.  

Average wages offered on vacant positions in Nova Scotia during Q2 2019 were highest for management occupations, followed by natural/applied sciences and health occupations. Manufacturing/utilities, natural resources and agriculture, and sales/service occupations had the lowest wages offered on vacant positions in Q2 2019.

In Q2 2019, 62.1 per cent of vacant positions in Nova Scotia required high school or lower levels of education, down from 66.2 per cent of vacancies in Q2 2018.  A higher proportion of vacant positions required an education level beyond high school in Q2 2019, accounting for 37.9 per cent of vacancies compared to 33.8 per cent in Q2 2018

Wages offered for vacant positions requiring high school or lower education were less than wages offered on vacancies requiring more education. The highest and fastest growth in wages offered (compared to Q2 2018) were for positions requiring university education at a bachelor's level.

The largest number of vacant positions require less than one year of experience, with vacancies at this experience level increasing 4.7 per cent compared to Q2 2018. The average wage offered on vacant positions increased for positions requiring less than one year, 3 to 5 years and 5 to 8 years of experience. The average wage offered for vacancies requiring 8 or more years of experience fell sharply from Q2 2018 to Q2 2019.   

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.

Source: Statistics Canada.  


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