Canada job openings, vacancy rate climb in fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a "Help wanted" sign at a retail store in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The number of job vacancies in Canada rose in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, with increased openings led by the accommodation and food services, and manufacturing sectors, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

There were 470,000 vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 23.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016. It was the largest annual increase since the series started in 2015.

The vacancy rate, which measures the share of unfilled jobs out of those available, rose to 2.9 percent from 2.4 percent.

A higher job vacancy rate generally points to economic growth. The country’s labor market was unexpectedly robust last year, but economists expect the rapid pace of jobs growth to slow in 2018.

Job openings rose in 8 out of 10 of the major industrial sectors, with vacancies in accommodation and food services up 25 percent from a year ago, and job openings in manufacturing jumping 39 percent.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama