October 3, 2022 – Statistics Canada counted a million unfilled positions in the second quarter, the most on record and double pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate dropped to about five percent, the lowest since at least the mid-1970s. Heading into the summer, essentially anyone who wanted a job could have found one, assuming they had the skills to match the positions on offer, or were up for some manual labour. Demographic forces are difficult to reverse, but the stakes are so high that it’s worth a try. The Canadian unit of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., the global auditing and consulting firm, estimates that all those unfilled positions represent the equivalent of more than $50 billion in lost economic output, a calculation based on applying gross domestic product per worker to the roughly 500,000 difference between current vacancies and the pre-pandemic average. “This is purely illustrative and likely represents the maximum potential cost to the economy, but it does drive home the point that labour scarcity and skills shortages could cost the economy tens of billions of dollars if left unaddressed,” Deloitte Canada said in a report published on September 29.