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Canada job vacancy rate declines in first quarter

OTTAWA - The Canadian job vacancy rate declined in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the year before, with the largest decreases coming from the oil-hit provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

The job vacancy rate, which is the share of jobs that are unfilled out of all jobs available, fell to 2.1 percent in the first quarter from 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

Overall, there were 328,100 unfilled jobs in Canada in the first quarter, a decrease of 17.9 percent from a year earlier. The vacancy rate declined in nine of the country's 10 provinces.

In Alberta, home to the country's vast oil sands, the vacancy rate slid to 1.9 percent from 3.5 percent as overall employment declined in the province. Similarly, the vacancy rate in Saskatchewan fell to 2.0 percent from 3.0 percent.

Nationally, job vacancies were highest in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, which had a 3.9 percent vacancy rate, followed by a 3.8 percent rate in the agriculture and forestry industry. The mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector had one of the lowest job vacancy rates at 0.7 percent.