Issue 16-03: Labour Force Highlights

January 8, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia increased 0.5 percentage points to 6.7% in December. The labour force expanded (+5,700 or +0.2%) reversing the contraction in November (-4,600 or -0.2%). The increase in the labour force combined with a decrease in employment (-7,900 or -0.3%) caused the unemployment rate to rise to its highest level since December 2013 when it was reported as 6.9%. B.C. posted the highest employment growth rate (+2.3%) among the provinces for 2015 with 51,600 more jobs than one year ago. The labour force grew by 87,000 during the same time frame, increasing the unemployment rate from 5.5% in December 2014 by 1.2% despite the strong employment growth.

Full-time jobs decreased by 6,200 (-0.3%) with most of the full-time job losses experienced by workers 25 to 54 years old (-12,800) and 55 years and over (-6,300). There were gains in full-time jobs for younger workers aged 15 to 24 years old (+13,000). Part-time jobs decreased overall (-1,600), for younger workers aged 15 to 24 years old (-11,600) and workers aged 25 to 54 years old (-2,800), and increased for workers aged 55 and over (+12,800).

Private sector employment in B.C. rose to 1,486,600 (+4,200) in B.C. Both the number of self-employed people (419,000) and public sector employment (429,900) fell in December (-4,200 and -7,900, respectively).

B.C. And West

The unemployment rate in B.C. tied for 3rd place in Canada with Ontario (6.7%), behind Saskatchewan (5.5%) and Manitoba (5.9%) and ahead of Alberta (7.0%).

National Highlights

In Canada, employment edged up 22,800 (+0.1%) in December. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1% from November. Ontario led employment growth in December with 34,900 jobs created.


In December, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) declined by 2,800 jobs. A drop in part-time (-5,800) jobs overpowered an increase in full-time (+3,000) jobs. While employment shrank, the labour force grew by 3,800, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 6.2%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment fell by 6,300 jobs and the labour force dropped (-4,100), edging the unemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to 5.2%. Full-time employment dropped by 22,100, while part-time employment increased by 15,700 jobs.

Compared to December 2015, the unemployment rate rose for men by 1.6 percentage points to 6.2%and for women by 0.6 percentage points to 5.2%. However, compared to one year ago, full-time jobs for men strengthened (+16,000 or +1.7%), while part-time jobs grew faster (+7,200 or +7.9%). For women, full-time employment dropped (-17,100 or -2.4%), while part-time employment (+35,800 or +15.7%) expanded rapidly and at a quicker pace compared to men.

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 1.1 percentage points to 12.3% in December as a result of growth in the labour force (+6,100 or +1.7%) outpacing employment growth (+1,300 or +0.4%). Part-time jobs declined by 11,600, while full-time jobs grew by 13,000. Compared to December 2014, the unemployment rate increased from 10.9% to 12.3% for youth.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In December, employment rose in Abbotsford (+1,200 or 1.3%) and Victoria (+1,000 or 0.5%). Employment fell in Vancouver (-3,800 or 0.3%), Kelowna (-3,500 or -3.8%), and in the rest of B.C. (-2,800 or -0.4%).


In December, employment in the goods-producing sector was stable (-800 or -0.2%). There was a modest gain in employment in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas industry (+3,900 or 8.2%), counterbalanced by a decline in agriculture (-4,700 or -18.1%), while the other industries were stable. Compared to December 2014, the goods-producing sector has gained 21,900 (+4.9%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector declined (‑7,200 or ‑0.4%) in December. The largest employment losses were in accommodation and food services (-8,000 or -4.5%), business, building and other support services (‑3,800 or -3.8%), and information, culture and recreation (-2,600 or -2.1%). Industries with gains in employment included wholesale and retail trade (+5,900 or +1.7%), finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (+3,300 or 2.7%), and education services (+1,800 or +1.1%). The services-producing sector expanded by 29,700 (+1.6%) jobs since December 2014.

Did You Know?

Seasonally adjusted estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) will be revised using the latest seasonal factors, going back three years (January 2013 onwards). The revised estimates will be available on CANSIM, Statistics Canada's key socioeconomic database, on Tuesday January 26, 2016.