One of the indicators or metrics we track to assess the condition of the labor market and, by extension, the broader economy centres on hours of work and payroll numbers. Included in this is a reading on vacancy rates which provides some insight into how many jobs employers are posting and the availability of labor to fill empty jobs.
The latest data are from October and it is not the most upbeat story for Saskatchewan.
One key observation is that we have the second-lowest vacancy rate in the country. That can be either good or bad. Good if jobs are being generated and filled as quickly as they are posted or bad if employers are not creating spots. So you have to look at bit further to see which story is playing out right now.
Here’s another key indicator: StatsCan says the sector that has produced the weakest COVID recovery in the country is resource extraction which includes mining and oil and gas. We’re not even close to where we were a year ago when measuring job numbers and even last year was not all that good so we’re behind a poor score.
We’ve also been seeing that Saskatchewan is losing people to other provinces – a further signal that the labor market is soft here and people are looking elsewhere for opportunity.