Issue 16-172: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

September 9, 2016

B.C. Highlights

 The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.5% in August, down from 5.6% in July. Even though employment decreased by 6,600, the labour force as a whole contracted by 8,800, leading to the drop. The unemployment rate was also lower compared to August of 2015, when it was 6.2%. In addition, job creation (+72,600) outpaced growth in the labour force (+60,000) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to July, full-time jobs increased (+22,400), although there was a drop in part-time jobs (-29,000). Among workers aged 15 to 24 and older workers (55 years of age and over), full time employment increased by 12,800 and 22,000 respectively, while core working-age workers (25 to 54 years of age) experienced a decline in full-time employment of 12,400.
In August, public sector employment increased by 10,400, while employment in the private sector decreased by 14,100. The number of self-employed individuals declined by 2,900.

Provincial Comparisons

 At 5.5%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of August. At 5.9%, Manitoba had the second lowest rate of unemployment in the country, followed by Saskatchewan at 6.3%. Ontario and Quebec recorded unemployment rates of 6.7% and 7.1% respectively, while Alberta’s unemployment rate was 8.4% in August.

National Highlights

 The unemployment rate in Canada as a whole edged up slightly from 6.9% to 7.0% in the month of August. There was an increase in total employment (+26,200) as full-time jobs increased (+52,200) while part-time jobs decreased (-26,000). However, growth in the labour force (+42,700) outpaced the growth in employment, leading to a higher unemployment rate.


 In August, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) decreased by 11,500 jobs, while the labour force shrank by 2,200. As a result, the unemployment rate rose by 0.8 percentage points to 5.9%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment declined by 3,600 jobs. The labour force also contracted in August by 3,400 and the unemployment rate was unchanged for the third month at 4.7%.

Compared to August 2015, the unemployment rate for men was up by 0.6 percentage points to 5.9%, and for women it was lower by 0.1 percentage points to 4.7%. Jobs for men increased by 13,700 (+1.3%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 32,500 (+3.4%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

 The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was down by 3.2 percentage points to 6.6% in August, the lowest rate of unemployment since August 2007 (6.2%). The marked drop in the unemployment rate was due to decline in the labour force (‑3,300) and a continued upsurge in employment (+8,400). Full-time employment increased by 12,800 jobs while part-time employment tapered by 4,400 jobs. Compared to August 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 6.1 percentage points to 6.6%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

 In August, employment rose in Victoria (+1,700 or +0.9%), and Kelowna (+600 or +0.7%). Employment declined for areas outside the CMAs (-6,300 or -1.0%), Vancouver (-1,500 or -0.1%), and Abbotsford (-1,100 or -1.2%).


In August, employment in the goods-producing sector was down (-4,100 or -0.9%) overall. Employment decreased in construction (-3,100 or -1.5%), agriculture (-2,200 or -8.5%), and foresty, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-600 or -1.2%). On the other hand, there were more jobs in manufacturing (+1,700 or +1.0%). Compared to August 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 11,900 (+2.6%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector was down (-2,500 or -0.1%) from July. There were fewer jobs in health care and social assistance (-7,200 or ‑2.4%), professional, scientific and technical services (-3,600 or -1.8%), other services (-2,000 or -1.9%), and wholesale and retail trade (-1,600 or -0.4%). Industries posting the largest gains included information, culture and recreation (+4,800 or +3.8%), business, building and other support services (+4,400 or +4.1%) and accommodation and food services (+3,600 or +2.1%). The services-producing sector expanded by 60,700 (+3.3%) jobs since August 2015.