Issue 16-191: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

October 7, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.7% in September, up from 5.5% in August. Even though employment remained virtually unchanged (-600), the labour force as a whole grew by 3,200. The unemployment rate was lower compared to September of 2015, when it was 6.4%. In addition, job creation (+61,500) outpaced growth in the labour force (+47,200) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to August, there was a decline in full-time jobs (-19,200), while part-time jobs increased (+18,500). For workers aged 15 to 24 and core working-age individuals (25 to 54 years of age), full time employment decreased by -12,200 and -7,100 respectively, while older workers (age 55 years and over) experienced virtually no change in the amount of full-time jobs (+100).

In September, employment in both the public (-15,200) and private sectors (-7,800) decreased. On the other hand, the number of self-employed individuals increased by 22,400.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.7%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of September. At 6.4%, Manitoba had the second lowest unemployment rate, followed by Ontario at 6.6%. The unemployment rate in Alberta edged up slightly to 8.5% in September, making it the province with the fourth highest rate of unemployment in all of Canada.

National Highlights

The unemployment rate in Canada as a whole remained unchanged at 7.0%. There was an increase in total employment (+67,200) as both full-time (+23,000) and part-time jobs (+44,100) grew since August. In addition, growth in the labour force (+69,000) slighty outpaced the growth in total employment.


In September, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 1,800 jobs, while the labour force shrank by the same amount. As a result, the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment rose by 6,200 jobs. The labour force also expanded in September by 5,400 and the unemployment rate stepped down 0.1 percentage points to 4.6%.

Compared to September 2015, the unemployment rate for men was up by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6%, and for women it was lower by 0.5 percentage points to 4.6%. Jobs for men increased by 5,300 (+0.5%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 36,000 (+3.8%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 2.3 percentage points to 8.9% in September. Employment dropped by 8,700 jobs, while the labour force only declined by 500 people. Full-time employment fell by 12,200, giving up most of the gains from August (+12,800), while part-time employment grew by 3,500 jobs. Compared to September 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 4.6 percentage points to 8.9%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In September, employment rose for areas outside the CMAs (+3,600 or +0.6%), Kelowna (+2,000 or +2.3%), Victoria (+1,300 or +0.7%) and Abbotsford (+400 or +0.4%). Employment declined in Vancouver (‑7,900 or ‑0.6%).


In September, employment in the goods-producing sector was down (-5,100 or -1.1%) overall. Employment decreased in manufacturing (-7,000 or -4.1%), and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,600 or -3.1%). Moderating the losses were gains in construction (+1,900 or +0.9%) and agriculture (+1,200 or +5.1%). Compared to September 2015, the goods-producing sector lost 6,300 (-1.3%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector was up (+4,400 or +0.2%) from August. Industries posting the largest gains were finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+4,800 or +3.5%), other services (+3,600 or +3.5%), and information, culture and recreation (+2,600 or +2.0%). Employment dropped in accommodation and food services (-6,000 or -3.4%), professional, scientific and technical services (-2,300 or -1.2%) and health care and social assistance (-2,100 or ‑0.7%). The services-producing sector expanded by 67,700 (+3.6%) jobs since September 2015.

Visit the Labour Market Statistics page.