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In a sign of a modest tightening in Canada's job market, the job vacancy rate in Canada rose to an average of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from 1.6 percent a year earlier, Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday.
By comparison, Canada's unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was an average of 7.8 percent in the first three months of 2012 and 8.1 percent a year earlier.
The government agency also reported that for every job vacancy, there were an average of 5.8 unemployed people in the first quarter, down from 6.5 in the first quarter of 2011.
The provincial breakdown tells a tale of the booming resource sector in the Prairie provinces, where employers have often had to turn to foreign workers to staff their operations.
Alberta's ratio of unemployed to job vacancies was only 1.8, down from 3.2 a year earlier. Saskatchewan and Manitoba were 2.8 and 4.0 respectively.
But Ontario and Quebec were 7.6 and 7.2, while the Atlantic provinces ranged from 8.1 to as high as 16.0 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The data series is not seasonally adjusted, which is why Statistics Canada's comparison is year over year. For October to December 2011, the job vacancy rate was 1.5 percent and the ratio of unemployed to job vacancies was 5.7.