Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS)

Detailed information for June 2019





Record number:


The Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS) program measures unmet labour demand. It provides a monthly portrait of the level of unoccupied positions, job vacancy rates and unemployment-to-job vacancy ratios.

Data release - September 26, 2019


The Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS) program provides a monthly portrait of the level of unoccupied positions, job vacancy rates and unemployment-to-job vacancies ratios. All estimates are produced at various levels of cross-classification of geography (province and territories) and industry (two-digit North American Industry Classification System [NAICS]) based on three-month moving averages. These data are useful in assessing the presence and degree of labour shortage and labour market.

The JVS contributes to the understanding of trends in filled and unfilled job demand in the labour market, and helps identify areas at risk of human resource shortages. Federal departments such as Employment and Social Development Canada as well as provincial and territorial agencies, educational organizations and the private sector are interested in this kind of information.

Statistical activity

Together, five surveys tell a more complete story of current labour market events. These surveys are: the Labour Force Survey (LFS, record number 3701), the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH, record number 2612), Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS, record number 2604), Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS, record number 5202), and the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey (JVWS, record number 5217). Every month, the LFS provides timely data on the labour market, including the unemployment rate and demographic analysis. Later on, the SEPH report shows greater detail on non-farm industry employment and earnings. EIS provides substantial detail on Employment Insurance benefits by geography, socio-demographics and former occupation. JVS (as part of SEPH) offers monthly information on labour demand by reporting on the number of job vacancies by industry. JVWS provides information on job vacancies (quarterly) and wages (annually) by occupation and economic region.


  • Employment and unemployment
  • Labour
  • Labour mobility, turnover and work absences

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is composed of all businesses in Canada having at least one employee for at least one month over the last twelve months. Excluded businesses are ones which are primarily involved in agriculture, fishing and trapping, private household services, religious organizations, military personnel of defence services and federal, provincial and territorial public administration.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

Job Vacancy Statistics are associated with the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) program through its use of the Business Payrolls Survey (BPS) as its main data collection vehicle. The initial BPS sample is made of 15,000 establishments out of a population of 1.1 million establishments taken from the Business Register. The simple random sample is stratified according to geography (province/territory), industry (NAICS 3 or 4) and number of employees in the establishments. Selected units remain in the sample for one year. One-twelfth of the sample is rotated on a monthly basis. Once removed from the sample, most units remain out of sample for at least one year.

Data sources

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Job vacancy statistics are collected within the SEPH program through the monthly BPS questionnaire. Internet, mail and telephone are the three collection methods currently available.

Starting with the January 2011 reference month, two questions were added to the BPS. Respondents are first asked whether they had vacant positions on the last business day of the reference month. If they answered "yes'' to that question, then they are asked to report the number of positions that were vacant. To be considered vacant, a specific position must exist, work could start within 30 days, and the employer must be actively seeking employees from outside the organization to fill the position.

As a result of the addition of these new questions to the BPS questionnaire, the Labour Statistics Division is able to provide monthly data on the number of job vacancies across the economy.

By combining job vacancy data with employment data from the SEPH, overall labour demand can be calculated, as well as the job vacancy rate. Unemployment data from the LFS is combined with the number of vacant positions to produce the unemployment-to-job-vacancies ratio. For more information regarding these two surveys, please refer to the "Additional documentation" link that follows.

Error detection

The number of job vacancies is validated using ratio edits. The logarithm of the vacancy-to-employment ratio (i.e., unmet-to-met labour demand) is computed in domains formed by industry and employment size. Outliers are identified in those domains using the quartile method. The units that do not pass the quartile tests are then subject to a second screening stage. If the unit's job vacancy rate is greater than a pre-specified cut-off size rate, then it is classified as an outlier and identified for review. Influential outlying observations are examined and, if necessary, are winsorized.


The imputation process is carried out through donor imputation. The donor imputation is used with donors that are similar to the non-responding units on a number of criteria such as the industry group, the number of employees in the current month and the number of job vacancies in the previous month.

If the non-responding unit has less than 100 employees, the donor's number of vacant positions is used for imputing the missing values. Otherwise, the ratio of vacancies-to-employment is used. For the imputation to take place, the imputation group must have at least five donors. Outlying observations are excluded from the donor pool.


The number of job vacancies is produced using the SEPH estimation process but includes sampling units without reported employment in the reference month. As a consequence, the basic and non-response adjusted weights are slightly different.

Once the final weights are calculated and preliminary monthly estimates produced, the monthly estimates are produced in the form of three-month moving averages, using data from the current month and the previous two months. This has the effect of smoothing the data series by reducing its volatility and helps reveal the underlying trend.

The three-month moving averages used in the calculation of the Job Vacancy Statistics program and their source are: the number of job vacancies (BPS); the number of occupied positions (SEPH); the number of unemployed persons (LFS).

By calculating the ratio of the number of job vacancies to total unmet (job vacancies) and met (occupied positions) labour demand, the Job Vacancy Statistics program can provide a job vacancy rate. Furthermore, by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the number of job vacancies, the Job Vacancy Statistics program can provide unemployment-to-job vacancies ratios. This ratio reflects how many unemployed individuals are available for each vacant position and is a measure of the overall labour market tightness. For each two-digit NAICS sector, the ratio is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed who last worked in that sector in the previous 12 months, using LFS data, by the number of vacant positions in the same sector. This excludes new entrants to the labour market as well as unemployed people who had not worked during the previous 12 months. Unemployment data by sector is known only for those who worked within the previous 12 months.

Quality evaluation

The data are examined in comparison to the SEPH employment movements and levels to determine if the observed data are consistent with the rest of the labour market.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Cell suppression via the G-CONFID software is used to control disclosure of the data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Each month, Statistics Canada releases preliminary job vacancy data for the current month and revised data for the previous month. As job vacancy data are released, in three-month moving averages, the preliminary data are calculated from one month of preliminary and two months of revised data. From time to time, a historical revision is undertaken to account for changes related to new data sources, revised industry classifications, and frame changes. The job vacancy data series is revised at this time.

Job vacancy estimates are not currently seasonally adjusted. It is not yet possible to perform seasonal adjustment, as this process requires at least seven years of data. When at least seven years of data have been collected, seasonal adjustment could be integrated into the program. Changes in the number and job vacancy rates, from one period to the next, will contain seasonal, as well as non-seasonal variation. Furthermore, given that this is a new data series, long term trends are not yet established and therefore, data should be interpreted with caution.

Data accuracy

Given that the target information for the Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS) program is a relatively infrequent occurrence in the population, the coefficients of variation for the monthly estimates from the JVS program are generally high. However, these coefficients of variation (CVs) are examined on a monthly basis to identify domains having unusually high values, and to determine the causes of these fluctuations. If a problem in the survey process that is not simply due to sampling is discovered in this analysis, the problem will be addressed prior to data release.

Every month, CVs are published for the job vacancy counts and rates, as well as for the unemployment-to-job-vacancies ratios, for Canada and for the provinces and territories. CVs for the unemployment-to-vacancies ratios are also produced by industry, for Canada and for the provinces and territories.

The response rate includes all units that responded by providing usable information during the collection phase. Response rates are generally around 70% and the imputation rate is around 30%. Quality indicators A through F are provided for all key variables.


  • Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours
    The Guide to the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours contains a dictionary of concepts and definitions and covers topics such as survey methodology, data collection and processing, and data quality.

    Last review : March 27, 2019.
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