Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS)

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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.

Detailed information for December 2014

Data release - March 17, 2015


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 (2-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, four surveys tell a more complete story of current labour market events. These surveys are: the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) and Job Vacancy Statistics (JVS). The LFS focuses on its strengths: timely data on the labour market, including the unemployment rate and demographic analysis. SEPH reports, which come out later each month, show greater detail on non-farm industry employment and earnings. EIS provides substantial detail on recipients of EI regular benefits by detailed geography, by socio-demographics and by former occupation. JVS offers information on labour demand by reporting on the number of job vacancies by industry.


  • 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.


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 1,000,000 establishments. The 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. Every month, one-twelfth of the sample is refreshed. 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 data are collected within the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) program through the monthly Business Payrolls Survey (BPS) questionnaire. Starting with the January 2011 reference month, two questions were added to the BPS to solicit information regarding the availability and number of vacant positions.

The employment data used to produce job vacancy rates come from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, while the unemployment data used for the unemployed-to-job vacancy ratios are extracted from the Labour Force Survey. For 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 2-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

Job vacancy estimates are not currently seasonally adjusted. Furthermore, given that this is a new data series, long term trends are not yet established and therefore, data should be interpreted with caution. When at least five years of data have been collected, seasonal adjustment will be integrated into the program.

Data accuracy

Given that the target information for the Job Vacancy Statistics program is a relatively infrequent occurrence in the population, the coefficients of variation for the monthly estimates from the Job Vacancy Statistics program are generally high. However, these coefficients of variation 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.

Quality indicators A through F are provided for all key variables. Response rates generally are around 70% and the imputation rate is around 30%.