Canadian job market increasingly a tale of have and have not occupations: CIBC
Dec 3, 2012
Some occupations find employers lining up to hire while others face the prospect of chronic unemployment
TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's job market shows a growing divide between have and have not occupations, finds a new report from CIBC World Markets.
"On one hand, jobs go unfilled for long stretches due to a lack of skilled applicants," says CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal. "In fact, the Prime Minister recently described skills shortages in the Canadian labour market as 'the biggest challenge our country faces'.
"But on the other end of the labour market spectrum, there is growing evidence that the size of the labour surplus pool is also on the rise. For a number of occupations, employment opportunities are increasingly disappearing. This labour market mismatch is big enough not only to reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy, but also to limit the growth potential of the labour market and the economy as a whole."
In his analysis, Mr. Tal found that traditional occupations like butchers, bakers, tailors, labourers in manufacturing, office managers and clerks are showing signs of labour surplus, along with secondary and elementary school teachers.
He found that the occupations with signs of skills shortages include many positions in traditional health care roles, such as doctors, nurses and dentists. The health care list also includes optometrists, chiropractors, pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists. Mining, engineering and science occupations are also facing skill shortages.
No less than 30 per cent of businesses indicate that they face a skilled labour shortage, which is double the rate seen in early 2010. "The recent acceleration in that ratio has coincided with a stagnating employment rate—loosely illustrating the negative impact of skill shortages on employment growth," notes Mr. Tal. "What's more, while you will not see it in the relatively stable trajectory of the unemployment rate, the number of job vacancies reported by firms has risen by close to 16 per cent over the past year—bringing the vacancy-to-unemployment ratio to its highest level since Statistics Canada started publishing vacancy information. It is hardly a surprise that the highest vacancy rate is in Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan."
Mr. Tal identified 25 job groups that have shown signs of consistent skill shortages. By far, the largest skill shortage was found in health-related occupations, the mining industry, advanced manufacturing and business services. Put together, those occupations account for 21 per cent of total employment in Canada. "One-fifth of the Canadian labour market is currently showing signs of skilled labour shortage," says Mr. Tal. "The average unemployment rate of this pool of occupations is just over one per cent and their wages are now rising by an average annual rate of 3.9 per cent — more than double the rate seen in the economy as a whole.
"Overall employment in this group is rising by 2.1 per cent — much faster than the speed seen in the rest of the market, but obviously not fast enough to dent the labour market skill scarcity. In this context, the recently announced government plans to admit between 53,000 and 55,000 new Canadians in 2013 through an overhauled federal skilled worker program is a welcome development. However, it's simply not large enough to turn things around. Ditto for the increased focus on apprenticeship as a possible solution to the chronic shortage in skilled trades. Despite recent program improvements, the number of certificates granted to apprentices is still a fraction of the overall size of the skilled trades labour pool."
At the opposite end of the labour spectrum, Mr. Tal identified 20 occupations that were in a surplus category as demonstrated by higher/rising unemployment rate and decelerating wage growth. These jobs account for 16 per cent of total unemployment in Canada while their real wage growth was nil over the past year. Excluding this pool of unemployed, the national unemployment rate would have been almost 1.3 percentage points lower.
The average duration of unemployment in Canada currently stands at 16 weeks, which is five weeks above the prerecession level. There are currently 250,000 Canadians who have been unemployed for over six months - 18 per cent of total unemployment in Canada.
"Clearly the larger this measure is, the more serious are the policy and economic implications of a given unemployment rate," adds Mr. Tal. "Longer term unemployment was on a clear downward trend over the past two years, but its current rate is still notably higher than its long-term average. That is mostly the case among Canadians over the age of 45, suggesting that retraining must be an integral part of any solution.
"The practical implication of the growing job market mismatch in the Canadian economy is that this measure of long-term unemployment is more likely to start rising from its already elevated level. In fact, the exit rate from unemployment (the likelihood of exiting unemployment, for a job or for some other reason, within the coming three months after being unemployed for less than three months) is starting to head in the wrong direction, implying an upcoming upward pressure on long-term unemployment."
|25 Occupations Showing Signs of Skills Shortages||20 Occupations Showing Signs of Labour Surplus|
|Managers in engineering, architecture, science & info systems||Managers in manufacturing and utilities|
|Managers in health, education, social and community services||Clerical supervisors|
|Managers in construction and transportation||Clerical occupations|
|Auditors, accountants and investment professionals||Clerical occupations, general office skills|
|Human resources and business service professionals||Office equipment operators|
|Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences||Finance and insurance clerks|
|Physical science professionals||Mail and message distribution occupations|
|Life science professionals||Secondary & elementary teachers and counsellors|
|Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers||Sales and service supervisors|
|Professional occupations in health||Occupations in food and beverage services|
|Physicians, dentists and veterinarians||Tour & recreational guides and amusement occupations|
|Optometrists, chiropractors & other health diagnosing/treating professionals||Other attendants in travel, accommodation and recreation|
|Pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists||Technical occupations in personal service|
|Therapy and assessment professionals||Other occupations in personal service|
|Nurse supervisors and registered nurses||Butchers & bakers|
|Technical and related occupations in health||Upholsterers, tailors, shoe repairers, jewellers and related occupations|
|Medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)||Fishing vessel masters and skippers and fishermen/women|
|Technical occupations in dental health care||Machine operators & related workers in metal/mineral products processing|
|Other technical occupations in health care (except dental)||Machine operators & related workers in pulp & paper production & wood processing|
|Psychologists, social workers, counsellors, clergy and probation officers|
|Supervisors, mining, oil and gas|
|Underground miners, oil and gas drillers and related workers|
|Supervisors in manufacturing|
|Supervisors, processing occupations|
The complete CIBC World Markets report is available at: http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/if_2012-1203.pdf
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