Job openings increase slightly in Q3 of 2012

(QMI Agency file photo)

(QMI Agency file photo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

The economy may be growing slowly, but job openings are keeping pace with it, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says.

The rate of unfilled private-sector jobs increased slightly in the third quarter of 2012, to 2.4%, up from 2.3% in the second quarter, the CFIB said in a report released Tuesday.

That's equivalent to approximately 275,900 full- and part-time jobs, the bulk of them in four sectors: hospitality, retail, construction and manufacturing, which each have between 30,000 and 40,000 openings across the country.

Job vacancies — defined by the CFIB as positions business owners haven't been able to fill for at least four months — are more of a problem for small businesses than large ones.

"The job vacancy rate is a measure of labour market imbalances — this time from the perspective of employers trying to staff their businesses as effectively as possible," said vice-president and chief economist Ted Mallett, the study's author.

At the end of 2009, when the global economic crisis began, the job vacancy rate was at 1.7%, according to CFIB data. It had reached a high of 2.8% in the two years prior.

The findings are based on 2,518 responses from a random sample of CFIB members, and combine with data of 72,012 responses going back to 2004.