December 24, 2012

Lack of construction managers an issue

A new report from CIBC World Markets finds that some occupations are constantly in need of workers, while other sectors face the prospect of chronic unemployment.

“On one hand, jobs go unfilled for long stretches due to a lack of skilled applicants,” said CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal. “But on the other end of the labour market spectrum, there is growing evidence that the size of the labour surplus pool is also on the rise. For a number of occupations, employment opportunities are increasingly disappearing. This labour market mismatch is big enough not only to reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy, but also to limit the growth potential of the labour market and the economy as a whole.”

Tal identified 25 job groups that have shown signs of consistent skills shortages, including managers in construction and transportation; civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers; and many positions in the mining, oil and gas industry. No less than 30 per cent of businesses indicate that they face a skilled labour shortage, double the rate seen in early 2010.

In his analysis, Tal found 20 occupations that are showing signs of labour surpluses. This trend is seen in traditional occupations like butchers, bakers, tailors, labourers in manufacturing, office managers and clerks, along with secondary and elementary school teachers.

The average duration of unemployment in Canada currently stands at 16 weeks, which is five weeks above the pre-recession level. There are currently 250,000 Canadians who have been unemployed for more than six months — 18 per cent of total unemployment in Canada.

“Longer term unemployment was on a clear downward trend over the past two years, but its current rate is still notably higher than its long-term average. That is mostly the case among Canadians over the age of 45, suggesting that retraining must be an integral part of any solution,” said Tal.

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