Issue 16-151: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

August 5, 2016

The unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%. The participation rate remained the same at 64.4%. The employment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 60.8%.

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.6% in July, down from 5.9% in June, as employment increased by 12,100, outpacing growth in the labour force of 4,700 persons. The unemployment rate was lower last month compared to July of 2015, when it was 6%. In addition, job creation (+84,700) led growth in the labour force (+78,500) over the past twelve months.
On a monthly basis, part-time jobs (+33,900) drove the increase in employment, as there was a significant decline in full-time jobs (-21,800) overall. Among workers aged 15 to 24, full-time employment increased by 6,600, while core working-age persons (25 to 54 years of age) and older workers (55 years and over) experienced declines in full-time employment of 18,000 and 10,400 respectively.

In July, employment growth was concentrated in the private sector (+3,600), whereas the public sector experienced an employment loss (-3,000). The number of self-employed individuals increased by 11,500.

Provincial Comparisons

 At 5.6%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of July. At 6.2%, Manitoba had the second lowest rate of unemployment in the country, followed by Saskatchewan at 6.3%. Ontario and Quebec recorded unemployment rates of 6.4% and 7.0% respectively, while Alberta’s unemployment rate continued to climb, increasing to 8.6% in the month of July.

National Highlights

The unemployment rate in Canada as a whole edged up 0.1 percentage points to 6.9% in the month of July. Despite an increase in part-time employment (+40,200), there was a larger drop in full-time employment (-71,400), leading to a net drop in employment (-31,200).


In July, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) decreased by 2,500 jobs. The labour force shrank by a larger amount (-5,500) during the same time period, causing the unemployment rate to decrease by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment went up by 8,600 jobs. The labour force also grew in July (+9,300) and, as a result, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7%.

Compared to July 2015, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1%, and for women it was lower by 0.3 percentage points to 4.7%. Compared to a year ago, jobs for men strengthened by 29,800 (+2.8%), and for women employment climbed by 38,800 (+3.9%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was down by 1.4 percentage points to 9.8% in July. Employment grew this month (+6,100), while the labour force changed only slightly (+900). Full-time employment increased (+6,600) and there was a small decline in part-time jobs (-500). Compared to July 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 1.4 percentage points to 9.8%.


In July, employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+2,700 or +0.6%) overall. Employment also grew in construction (+2,200 or +1.0%) and agriculture (+2,000 or +8.4%). On the other hand, there were fewer jobs in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,200 or -2.3%), and utilities (-500 or -3.7%). Employment in manufacturing was unchanged. Compared to July 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 25,400 (+5.7%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector was up (+9,400 or +0.5%) from June. There were fewer jobs in educational services (-7,400 or -4.3%), accommodation and food services (-3,100 or -1.7%), and professional, scientific and technical services (-900 or -0.4%), with counterbalancing gains spread out across the remaining industries. The largest advances were in health care and social assistance (+9,900 or +3.4%), information, culture and recreation (+4,700 or +3.9%), finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+2,400 or +1.8%), and wholesale and retail trade (+2,400 or +0.7%). The services-producing sector expanded by 59,300 (+3.2%) jobs since July 2015.

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