3-Year Employment Outlooks - Questions and Answers
What are the 3-year employment outlooks?
The 3-year employment outlooks assess whether the employment outlook over the next 3 years for an occupation in a specific region is good - ★★★, fair - ★★, or Limited - ★. The ranks show how that occupation compares to others in its province, while the text provides a detailed explanation.
The outlooks do not measure if there is a labour shortage for that occupation in that particular region, but the prospect of finding a job.
How are the 3-year employment outlooks presented on Job Bank?
Outlooks are presented on the Job Bank website for each occupation, in each province, territory and economic region. The employment outlooks consist of 2 parts:
- A star rating (out of three) to state whether the outlook for this occupation is:
- Good ★★★
- Fair ★★
- Limited ★
- A text providing additional facts explaining what is the situation of that occupation in that region, such as the number of people working in the occupation, number of full time versus part time workers, or in which industry this occupation can be found.
How are the 3-year employment outlooks developed?
The 3-year employment outlooks use an advanced economic model to analyze data and produce employment projections. These projections are made for each of the economic regions, provinces, and territories.
By using data available in all regions, statistical techniques, and knowledge from labour market specialists, the model creates a prediction of where the labour market is most likely to be in three years' time, and what that means for employment.
The model then scores each occupation using multiple factors, such as the employment growth rate by occupation, the number of people leaving the occupation, and the number of experienced individuals looking for work in the occupation. These scores are then used to give a rating out of three stars (Good - ★★★, Fair - ★★, Limited - ★, or Undetermined).
The scores, along with facts and information about each occupation and region, are then published on Job Bank.
What information are used to develop the 3-year employment outlooks?
The main sources of information used in developing the employment outlooks includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Census (Statistics Canada)
- Labour Force Survey (Statistics Canada)
- Employment Insurance administrative data (Employment and Social Development Canada)
- Conference Board of Canada, and other organizations
- Labour market news from across Canada
What do the rankings mean?
Good: This rank means the occupations have an job outlook or prospect above the average for all occupations in the same region. This situation is good for job seekers, and could be due to a lack of qualified workers, a high turnover, low unemployment rates, or a lot of retirements.
Fair: This rank means the 3-year outlook is comparable to the average for all occupations in the region. This situation happens when the number of people looking for a job in that field is equal to the number of job offers.
Limited: This rank means the 3-year outlook is below the average for all occupations in the region. This situation can happen when there is less demand for this type of job, the industry activities are slowing, or high levels of unemployment. This is considered a challenging situation for job seekers, especially new entrants, such as new graduates and immigrants. This can also be because there are more job seekers than jobs for this occupation, in this province or region.
What does the rank "undetermined" mean?
In the 3-year employment outlooks, there is a possibility that some occupations in certain regions will be ranked as undetermined. Undetermined is a ranking that can be given when there is no information, or not enough information, to accurately score an occupation. For example, if an occupation has too few people in it, then the model will be unable to accurately predict where it will go over the 3-year timeframe. In that case, the occupation will be given the rank of undetermined.
When are the 3-year employment prospects updated on the Job Bank Web site?
Employment outlooks are updated on Job Bank and the Government of Canada's open data portal on an annual basis, usually in December of the first year of the 3-year period covered.
Why were 3-year employment outlooks not available for 2020-22?
The 3-year Employment Outlooks model uses historical data up to the end of the year before the projection year. Therefore, when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, the quantitative analysis component of the model could not capture the impact of the crisis. Employment and Social Development Canada decided to suspend the regular 2020-22 employment outlooks but produced a special qualitative outlook report, which focused on the top occupations negatively affected by COVID-19 and the top occupations in high demand during the recovery period. The reports can be found on the Government of Canada's open data portal.
Do the 2021-23 employment outlooks reflect the impact of COVID-19 on occupations?
The 2021-23 employment outlooks were based on data available at the time of analysis, therefore they reflect the impact of COVID-19 to a certain extent. However, because we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and there is a usual lag in data collecting, data quality could be problematic. It is recommended that readers interpret the results with caution and consult other sources in order to reach a balanced understanding.
How long are the 3-year employment outlooks valid for?
The employment outlooks represent a 3-year period. For example, the information posted in 2021 will provide outlooks for all occupations for the years 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Why is the forecast period 3 years?
The outlooks process chose a 3-year forecast because it allows for accurate forecasts to be made at the occupational and regional level, while avoiding the possible disadvantages associated with longer or shorter term forecasts.
How are occupations defined?
Occupations are defined by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This system groups various job titles and occupations into 500 categories, allowing occupations that have similar traits to be represented as one code. For more information, please visit the NOC website at:
Are the rankings comparable nationally?
No, the employment outlooks aren't comparable nationally. Because each region and province can be experiencing vastly different labour situations, the outlooks are only comparable within the same province. This allows for local labour markets to reflect their trends without being effected by much different markets from different provinces.
Why can the 3-year employment outlooks be different from one region to another?
The 3-year employment outlook covers each region, in each province and territory, across Canada. Each of these regions has their own labour market, which can be very different from other regions, even if they are near by. For example, if one area is mainly urban, and a nearby area is rural, they will be experiencing different labour market conditions.
Do the rankings tend to become reality?
The 3-year employment outlook uses a method based on statistics to project how the labour market could change over three years. These are estimates based on a proven methodology but there will always be unforeseen factors that could affect the predictions.
For further information, please contact the LMI team
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