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Metro Help-Wanted Index: October 2012

Near-Term Job Prospects Negative for Many CMAs

The Canadian economy added a better-than-expected 52,100 jobs in September, the third-biggest monthly gain of the year. This brought year-over-year job creation to a solid 175,000. However, more moderate labour market activity is expected over the near term, given that Canada’s domestic economy appears to be struggling to maintain momentum in the face of slowing global growth. Europe remains mired in a financial crisis, while the U.S. economic recovery is still fragile, despite recent positive signs. Accordingly, The Conference Board of Canada’s Metro Help-Wanted Index suggests that near-term job prospects are negative in half of the 26 CMAs covered here, while prospects are positive in only 7 and stable in the remaining 6. Although near-term prospects are negative in seven of eight Western CMAs, this is more likely a temporary pause rather than the beginning of a downtrend. Besides, Western labour markets remain tight, as evidenced by a low indicator of labour market tightness. This ratio, which measures the number of unemployed workers to the number of online job ads, sits below the Canadian average of 2.2 in all eight Western Canadian CMAs.

Near-Term Employment Prospects

Arrow up Up Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Montréal, Kingston, London, Abbotsford–Mission
Stable line Stable Halifax, Saint John, Québec, Hamilton, Windsor, Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo,
Arrow down Down St. John's, Ottawa–Gatineau, Greater Sudbury, Toronto, St. Catharines–Niagara, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria

Biggest Advancers (September 2012 over August 2012)

Metro Help Wanted Index: Biggest Advancers

Biggest Decliners (September 2012 over August 2012)

Metro Help Wanted Index: Biggest Decliners


*Scales are adjusted to accommodate data.
Note: A higher Help-Wanted Index (bright blue line) is preferable because it means that the number of job ads is increasing, and therefore the labour market is strengthening. On the other hand, a lower indicator of labour market tightness (dark blue line) is preferable because it means that the labour market is tightening, and therefore the chances of finding a job are higher.
Sources: Wanted Technologies Corporation; Statistics Canada; The Conference Board of Canada.

About the Metro Help-Wanted Index

The Conference Board of Canada Help-Wanted Index is based on the seasonally adjusted number of new, unduplicated jobs posted online during the month across 79 job-posting websites. Raw data are collected by Wanted Technologies, a Canadian-based firm that provides information and analysis on hiring demand. The monthly Help-Wanted Index does not account for existing ads posted during previous months.

The Conference Board also constructs the Barometer of Labour Market Tightness. The barometer is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the number of available ads posted online. Therefore, a falling barometer is associated with a tightening labour market. A rising barometer is associated with a loosening labour market.

The number of unduplicated ads includes the total ads available online during the period under review. All data are seasonally adjusted, and the indices are available at the national, provincial and metropolitan levels.

The Help-Wanted Indices and the Barometers of Labour Market Tightness are available from May 2005. Data from 2005 to 2007 are heavily influenced by the addition of new websites surveyed. From July 2009 onward, the data are collected from the same 79 online job boards. 


Disclaimer: Forecasts and research often involve numerous assumptions and data sources, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. This information is not intended as specific investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.

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Alan Arcand Alan Arcand
Principal Economist

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