There were 8,300 vacant jobs in the province's private sector in the third quarter this year, down slightly from the previous quarter, according to a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The federation said Manitoba's job-vacancy rate dipped to 2.1 per cent from 2.2 per cent in the second quarter. Alberta and Saskatchewan had the highest rates at 3.6 per cent each, and the national average was 2.4 per cent.
The federation said smaller firms -- those with fewer than 19 employees -- had the highest rate of job openings in Manitoba at 4.3 per cent, versus 1.4 per cent for companies with 500 or more employees.
"That's a problem, because labour shortages proportionately pose much greater management challenges to the owners and managers of small businesses than to larger firms," said CFIB Manitoba director Janine Carmichael.
The construction and hospitality industries had the highest job-vacancy rates. Carmichael said, adding that's not surprising, given the high level of construction in the province and high turnover in the hospitality industry.
Carmichael said a skilled-labour shortage is a big problem for small and medium-size firms and must be addressed.
Tuesday's Help Wanted report is the first in a series of quarterly reports the CFIB will issue on private-sector job vacancy rates in Canada.
Job vacancies are defined as openings that have been vacant at least four months because business owners have been unable to find suitable employees.