Help Wanted Index Survey

Detailed information for April 2003





Record number:


The Help-wanted Index measures changes in the demand for labour relative to a base-year.

Data release - May 6, 2003


The Help-wanted Index was terminated with the publication of the April 2003 reference month on May 6, 2003.

The Help-wanted Index measured changes in the demand for labour and was viewed by users as a proxy measure for unmet labour demand and an indicator of the near-term direction of the labour market.


  • Employment and unemployment
  • Labour

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The basic unit of measurement is a help-wanted advertisement published in the classified section of 22 surveyed newspapers.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


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

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data are collected for one Saturday each month; usually the Saturday of the Labour Force Survey reference week.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


Estimates are imputed if newspapers cannot be obtained.


The Help-wanted Index compares the number of ads published in any given month with the respective average number of ads in the base-period. The ratio between the two values is then weighted according to the population residing in the metropolitan areas surveyed.

Metropolitan area populations from the 1996 Census of Population (record number 3901) are used for weights in the construction of the index. City indexes are aggregated to obtain Canada and regional indexes. The five regional indexes and the Canada index are adjusted independently for seasonal variation.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that 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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Trend-cycle estimates for the three most recent months are preliminary. Seasonally adjusted estimates are revised in January and trend-cycle estimates are revised in March of each year for the past 48 months.

Data accuracy

The Help-wanted Index was long viewed by users as a proxy measure for unmet labour demand and an indicator of the near-term direction of the labour market. However, many users have expressed concern over its performance in recent years, especially in light of the growing use of the Internet by employers as a means of posting job openings.


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