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Inside the Canadian Economics Association Conference: Highlights and takeaways

LMIC staff were in Toronto, Ontario this past week (May 30 to June 1, 2024) for the 58th Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association to share their research and engage in lectures.  

The CEA offered a wealth of knowledge, perspectives, and research avenues we are eager to explore further. A key focus of the conference was on Canada's productivity declines, which were discussed in several labour sessions, alongside frequent discussions on immigration and skills.

LMIC hosted a special session titled Using Online job postings and survey data to understand labour market trends. The session featured three ongoing projects that use data from online job postings (OJPs) and surveys to explore gaps between data sources and gain a deeper understanding of both in-demand skills and job quality in tight labour markets. 

For those who were unable to attend the session, the slides from each presentation are available below.  

Online job postings continue to contribute to research and tools at LMIC

Lorena Camargo, Principal Researcher, LMIC

OJPs are becoming a critical resource for policy-makers and researchers who study the labour market. LMIC continues to work with Vicinity Jobs data on OJPs, which can be explored in our Canadian Job Trends Dashboard. Valuable insights have been gained through our analysis of OJP data, including Suzanne Spiteri’s recent report on improving the quality and accessibility of job postings to reduce employment barriers for neurodivergent people.  

Bridging the gap: Online job postings, survey data and the assessment of job vacancies in Canada

Ibrahim Abuallail, PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa

OJP data from firms like Vicinity Jobs have emerged as a complement to traditional sources of labour demand data, such as the Job Vacancy and Wages Survey (JVWS). Ibrahim presented research relating to bias in OJPs and a proposed approach to effectively adjust OJP data to complement existing official data (such as from the JVWS) and improve the measurement of labour demand.

Does teamwork really matter? Looking beyond the job posting to understand labour market demands

Laura Adkins-Hackett, Economist, LMIC

Sukriti Trehan, Data Scientist, LMIC

Vicinity Jobs’ data includes more than three million 2023 OJPs and thousands of skills. Most skills appear in less than 0.02% of job postings, so most postings rely on a small subset of commonly used terms, like teamwork.  

Laura and Sukriti presented their research exploring trends in the skills listed in OJPs to develop a deeper understanding of in-demand skills. This research project uses pointwise mutual information and other methods to extract more information about common skills from the relationships between skills, occupations and regions.

What's a worker’s market? Job quality and labour market tightness

Michael Willcox, Economist, LMIC

In a tight labour market, job-seekers gain bargaining power and leverage it into greater job quality—at least, that’s the conventional wisdom.  

Michael presented findings that reveal a weakened relationship between labour market tightness and job quality indicators following the pandemic. Labour market tightness coincided with growth in real wages for only a portion of workers: those in low-wage jobs requiring little education. Several factors—including labour market composition, worker and employer behaviour, and labour market practices—have contributed to the absence of worker benefits. These will be investigated further in future work.

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