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 very good - ★★★★★, good - ★★★★, moderate - ★★★, limited - ★★ or very 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 five) to state whether the outlook for this occupation is:
- Very good ★★★★★
- Good ★★★★
- Moderate ★★★
- Limited ★★
- Very 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 five stars (Very good - ★★★★★, Good - ★★★★, Moderate- ★★★, Limited- ★★, Very 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?
Very good: this outlook rating is assigned to occupations where the short- and medium-term potential for employment is significantly higher than the regional average, compared to other occupations. This situation is very favorable to job seekers and may be associated with one or more of the following factors: strong job growth; low unemployment rates; high retirement rates; high turnover rates; a lack of skilled or experienced labour; very specific job requirements and/or a lack of interest from the available labour force, etc.
Good: this outlook rating is assigned to occupations where the short- and medium-term potential for employment is higher than the regional average, compared to other occupations. This situation is favorable to job seekers and may be associated with one or more of the following factors: moderate job growth; low unemployment rates; moderate retirement rates; high turnover rates; a lack of skilled or experienced labour; very specific job requirements and/or a lack of interest from the available labour force, etc.
Moderate: this outlook rating is assigned to occupations where the short- and medium-term potential for employment is comparable to the regional average for all occupations. This situation occurs when the number of available workers corresponds to the demand for labour.
Limited: this outlook rating is assigned to occupations where the short- and medium-term potential for employment is below the regional average, compared to other occupations. This situation is often associated with one or more of the following factors: weak employment growth or decline; high unemployment rates; low retirement rates, etc. This is a difficult situation for job seekers, particularly for inexperienced candidates, which may indicate that the number of workers available in the region exceeds the expected job openings.
Very limited: this outlook rating is assigned to occupations where the short- and medium-term potential for employment is significantly lower than the regional average, compared to other occupations. This situation is often associated with one or more of the following factors: very weak job growth or decline; very high unemployment rates; very low retirement rates, etc. This is the most difficult situation for job seekers, especially for inexperienced candidates, which may indicate that the number of workers available in the region exceeds the expected job openings.
Why was there a shift from three star rankings to five star rankings?
Previously the 3-year employment outlooks were based on a three star ranking system (good, fair and limited). In order to better capture the dynamics of the labour market, starting from 2022-24, a five star ranking system is adopted. More distinctions in the rankings provides detailed information of where an occupation stands comparing with other occupations.
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.
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. 2022-24 employment outlooks are based on the NOC 2016. For more information, please visit the NOC website at:
What is National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 and how does it affect the 3-year employment outlooks?
National Occupational Classification (NOC) system has undergone major revisions in 2021. The new NOC 2021 includes structural changes such as the addition, aggregation or merging, and splitting of unit groups as well as the reorganization of certain groups across broad occupational categories and Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories. The 3-year employment outlooks will shift to the NOC 2021 system in the future once data are available under the new system.
For the concordance table between NOC 2016 and NOC 2021, please visit:
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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