Canada job vacancies continue to decline in Q4 2023

Foodcounter attendants, retail workers most in demand, says StatCan

Canada job vacancies continue to decline in Q4 2023

Canada had job vacancies totalling 678,500 in the fourth quarter of 2023, down by 25,400 (-3.6%) from the previous quarter, according to Statistics Canada (StatCan).

This marks the sixth straight quarterly decline from the record high reached in the second quarter of 2022 (983,600).

Overall job vacancies in Canada edged up to 653,000 in November 2023, according to a previous StatCan report.

Meanwhile, payroll employment rose by 37,700 (+0.2%) in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

The job vacancy rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 3.8%, which is also the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.

“The job vacancy rate in the fourth quarter was at its lowest since the first quarter of 2021,” notes StatCan.

Also, there were 1.8 unemployed persons for every job vacancy in the fourth quarter of 2023, up from 1.7 in the previous quarter, and 1.2 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In January, Canada’s unemployment rate dipped for the first time since 2022, according to StatCan.

Source: Statistics Canada

Meanwhile, on a year-over-year basis, the average offered hourly wage for vacant positions increased 6.4% to $26.50 in the fourth quarter, up from an increase of 5.8% to $25.60 in the previous quarter, according to StatCan.

“In comparison, year-over-year growth in average hourly wages for all employees (from the Labour Force Survey) was 5.0% in the fourth quarter of 2023, on par with an increase of 5.0% in the previous quarter (not seasonally adjusted),” it said.

Occupations with largest decreases in job vacancies

The following occupations are the top 10 with the biggest declines in job vacancies year-over-year along with their hourly wages, according to StatCan.


Number of job vacancies in Q4 2023

Hourly wages in Q4 2023


6,335 (down 47.1% year-over-year from 11,975)

$29.60 (up from 28.45 year-over-year)

Material handlers

7,835 (down 41.4% year-over-year from 13,380)

$20.15 (up from $19.10 year-over-year)

Retail salespersons and visual merchandisers

29,145 (down 39.9% year-over-year from 48,495)

$16.85 (up from $16.00 year-over-year)

Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations

34,960 (down 39.8% year-over-year from 58,110)

$16.65 (up from $15.75 year-over-year)

Food and beverage servers

10,415 (down 31.9% year-over-year from 15,285)

$15.60 (up from $15.00 year-over-year)

Light duty cleaners

9,805 (down 31.0% year-over-year from 14,215)

$18.95 (up from $18.35 year-over-year)


14,085 (down 30.0% year-over-year from 20,135)

$18.45 (up from $17.65 year-over-year)

Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers

12,855 (down 27.1% year-over-year from 17,630)

$16.25 (up from $14.90 year-over-year)

Other customer and information services representatives

9,945 (down 26.4%  year-over-year from 13,520)


(up from $19.70 year-over-year)

Transport truck drivers

17,800 (down 17.9% year-over-year from 21,680)

$26.60 (down from $27.35 year-over-year)


On a year-over-year basis, there were fewer job vacancies for all educational levels sought by employers in the fourth quarter, according to StatCan.

“Proportionally, positions requiring a high school diploma or less (-31.1%; -154,600) saw the largest year-over-year decline in vacancies. The unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio for these positions was 1.5 in the fourth quarter, up from 0.9 in the same quarter of 2022 (data used in this section are not seasonally adjusted).

“In comparison, the number of vacancies for positions requiring a bachelor's degree or higher fell 16.1% (-18,200) over the same period, while the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio rose to 3.3 in the fourth quarter of 2023, up from 2.2 in the same quarter of 2022.”

Employers in Ontario managed to chip away about a quarter of job vacancies in the province’s overall labour market in 2023, according to a report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario.

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