WED Vol.1, Issue 2
In this issue of the Winnipeg Economic Digest, we reviewed Statistics Canada’s payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies report for June 2022. We learned that the number of employees who are employed continued to rise, exceeding the pre-pandemic level from February 2020 by two per cent for both Canada and Manitoba. There is considerable variation across industries.
Weekly average earnings in June 2022 were up 11 per cent compared to February 2020 for both Canada and Manitoba, but the numbers vary across industries. The only industry that saw a decline in its weekly average earnings for both Canada and Manitoba was management of companies.
Canada’s job vacancy level was just over one million listings for a job vacancy rate (JVR) of 5.9 per cent. Manitoba’s job vacancies were approximately 29,000 for a JVR of 4.7 per cent.
At a Canadian level, the highest JVR continues to be the accommodations and food services industry at 12.2 per cent. The lowest JVR is that of educational services at 1.7 per cent.
While Manitoba has long been preparing for the retirement of the Baby Boomers (the tail-end of which will likely retire in the next five years) through boosting immigration, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the employee shortage problem in the short term.
Manitoba’s unemployment-to-job-vacancy (U/V) ratio in June 2022 was 0.9, which means there were fewer unemployed people than unfilled job listings. Quebec, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan all had even lower U/V ratios. Attracting more people to the labour force, including students, immigrants and migrants from other provinces will have to play a role in filling these jobs. Upskilling workers through education and training will also play a role.
When we compare Canada’s employment by industry in June 2022 versus February 2020, we see that all businesses are up two per cent. Professional, scientific, and technical companies are up 18 per cent compared to the February 2020 level, which is the largest increase. Management of companies is up eight per cent, just edging out four other industries. Arts, entertainment, and recreation was still down 10 per cent vs Feb 2020, with accommodation and food services employment still down seven per cent.
Now looking at Manitoba’s employment by industry in June 2022 compared to February 2020, we see that all businesses are also up by two per cent. Information and cultural industries are up 51 per cent compared to February 2020. Transportation and warehousing is up eight per cent. Real estate, rental and leasing was still down by 17 per cent versus February 2020, while other services is still down nine per cent.
Comparing Canada’s average weekly earnings for June 2022 to the February 2020 level shows all industries are up by 11 per cent. At the same time, admin support, waste management, and finance and insurance services saw average weekly earnings go up by 16 per cent. Average weekly earnings for management of companies went down by four per cent.
Manitoba’s average weekly earnings in comparison with the February 2020 findings shows all industries are up 11 per cent. Admin support, waste management, and finance and insurance services also saw an increase with average weekly earnings that went up by 23 per cent. Finance and insurance went up 19 per cent, while the average weekly earnings for management of companies were down seven per cent.
BOX 1: There’s an increase in employment but a decrease in weekly average earnings? How can this be?
While the combination of increased employment and decreasing weekly average earnings for an industry can seem counter intuitive, it really is not. An industry’s earning bill applies across multiple occupations and levels of experience. If your new hires average lower weekly earnings than the average weekly earnings that existed before, then your new average earnings bill per week will decrease.
Although we may see an increase in employment and decrease in weekly average earnings in one industry, it is also possible to see an increase in weekly average earnings with an increase in employment in a different industry. The increase in earnings can happen if an industry is expanding its demand for higher paid skilled individuals particularly if there is a shortage of these skilled workers.
The June 2022 job vacancy rate 1 in Canada rose slightly to 5.9 per cent, while it fell to 4.7 per cent in Manitoba. This is more than one million vacancies in Canada, and 29,000 vacancies in Manitoba.
Canada’s JVR by industry in June 2022 was highest in accommodation and food services at 12.2 per cent, which is more than double the average 5.9 per cent JVR for all industries. The lowest JVR was registered in educational services at 1.7 per cent.
While Manitoba has long been preparing for the retirement of the Baby Boomers (the tail-end of which will likely retire in the next five years) through boosting immigration, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem in the short term.
The payroll employment, earnings and hours, and job vacancies June 2022 report noted that the unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio in June 2022 was below 1.0 in four provinces: Quebec (0.6), BC (0.7), Saskatchewan (0.8), and Manitoba (0.9), while the rest have more unemployed than vacant positions.
This means there were fewer officially unemployed people than job vacancies in provinces like Manitoba. For example, in a scenario where there were one hundred job vacancies, there were only ninety unemployed people available to fill those jobs. Manitoba may resolve this discrepancy by:
- Attracting more people to join Manitoba’s labour force including those unrepresented, those who have been unemployed for a long-time, high school students and domestic and international university students2.
- Attracting talent from other provinces to move to Manitoba.
- Boosting net immigration to help fill roles. This can occur through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program and with international university students working part time while studying. The temporary foreign workers program may play a role as well.
- Upskilling workers through education and training will also play a role. See for example Karima-Catherine Goundiam’s September 8, 2022 diversity hiring opinion piece, “How to Create a pipeline for a diverse workforce,” in the Global and Mail.
We continue to see initiatives in Manitoba to better match workers with employers, including efforts from Economic Development Winnipeg’s Talent team along with partners in government, and industry.
1. Job vacancy Rate = (vacancies)/ (employed + vacancies)
2. Within current regulations for international post-secondary students working in Manitoba.