Latest job vacancy data points to interesting trends across NB

Statistics Canada didn’t release data from the Job Vacancy survey for Q2 and Q3 2020 during the height of the pandemic last year but the Q4 data showed a significant spike in job vacancies across New Brunswick. In other words it was significantly harder for employers to find workers in Q4 than it had been in the past. Most put that down to CERB and other factors.

The Q1 2021 job vacancy data has settled down somewhat and I think is back to reflecting longer term trends in New Brunswick.

This chart shows the vacancy rate (%) by region around New Brunswick in Q1 each year since 2016. As always I don’t like comparing month-to-month (or quarter-to-quarter) because of seasonality so the year-over-year is a better comparison (IMO).

In Q1 2021 the job vacancy rate in New Brunswick was 3.2% or slightly higher than last year but following an ongoing trend. The rate has increased by 88% in the past five years. Campbellton-Miramichi, Moncton and Edmundston have the highest job vacancy rates but Campbellton-Miramichi has seen the largest increase by far. AGain this could be somewhat Covid-related because there was a significant spike in the past year.

The second table shows the actual number of job vacancies in each region of the province. The number of job vacancies in the Moncton region was actually slightly lower in Q1 2021 (my contention is immigration) but 36% of all job vacancies around the province are in the Moncton-Richibucto region. Again, consider Campbellton-Miramichi, a 236% increase in the number of vacant jobs over five years. In Q1 2016 there were only 495 vacant jobs. Now there are 1,665 (again this could be Covid-influenced).

The final table is the average hourly wage on offer for the vacant jobs. Job vacancies in general tend to be higher in lower wage industries but the average wage on offer has been increasing faster in New Brunswick than across the country in recent years (but not by a wide margin). Campbellton-Miramichi is the outlier with a massive rise just in the past year (again likely Covid related) while the second lowest increase over five years. In fact, before Covid, the average hourly wage for jobs on offer in Campbellton-Miramichi had declined. Between Q1 2016 and Q1 2020, C-M was the only region in NB to see a decline in the average wage on offer.

It will likely be one or two more quarters before we see the effects of Covid-19 waning. But this data for me confirms the ongoing reality that job vacancies are rising across the province and this is a serious risk to economic growth.