Issue 16-20: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

February 5, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 6.6% in January. Despite an increase in the population (+2,700), the labour force remained virtually unchanged (-200), while employment (+1,200) increased slightly. Compared to January of 2015, the unemployment rate was up 1.0 percentage points from 5.6%, as the growth in the labour force (+78,900) outpaced growth in employment (+48,600).

Full-time jobs increased by 10,700 (+0.6%) and part-time jobs decreased by 9,500 (-1.9%). There was a sizeable shift from part-time (-13,500) to full-time (+19,000) jobs for women aged 25 to 54 years old. The pattern was reversed for men in this age group with full-time jobs losing (‑5,300) and part-time (+4,600) gaining.

Private sector employment in B.C. shrank to 1,484,200 (‑2,100), while public sector employment rose slightly to 431,200 (+1,000) and the number of self-employed grew to 421,600 (+2,400).

B.C. and West

The unemployment rate in B.C. was 3rd lowest in Canada at 6.6%. Saskatchewan and Manitoba had lower unemployment rates at 5.6% and 6.1% respectively, while Ontario and Alberta were higher at 6.7% and 7.4%, respectively.

National Highlights

The unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage points to 7.2% in Canada. Employment was virtually unchanged in January (-5,700 or 0.0%).


In January, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) declined by 5,500 jobs. A drop in full-time (-7,800) jobs overpowered an increase in part-time (+2,300) jobs. The labour force (-3,100) did not contract as much as employment, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to 6.3%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment expanded by 7,900 jobs and the labour force rose by 3,600, dropping the unemployment rate by 0.5 percentage points to 4.8%. Full-time employment jumped by 24,200, while part-time employment fell by 16,500 jobs. 

Compared to January 2015, the unemployment rate rose for men by 1.4 percentage points to 6.3% and for women by 0.3 percentage points to 4.8%. Compared to one year ago, jobs for men strengthened by 11,500 (+1.1%), while for women employment climbed by 26,100 (+2.8%). However, the increase in jobs for men was entirely in full-time employment (+11,800), while for women it was in part-time employment (+32,800).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 0.2 percentage points to 12.6% in January as a result of a larger decline in employment (-1,100) than the labour force (-500). Full-time jobs declined by 5,700, while part-time jobs grew by 4,600. Compared to January 2015, the unemployment rate increased from 10.7% to 12.6% for youth.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In January, employment fell in Victoria (-1,100 or -0.6%) and Abbotsford (-1,000 or -1.1%). Employment rose slightly in areas outside the CMAs (+1,800 or +0.3%) and in Vancouver (+900 or +0.1%) and Kelowna (+600 or +0.7%).


In January, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively stable (-3,600 or -0.8%) overall. There was a decline in employment in agriculture (-1,600 or -7.9%), manufacturing (-1,600 or -0.9%) and utilities (-1,100 or ‑7.1%) accompanied by gains in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+700 or +1.4%), while construction was virtually unchanged. Compared to January 2015, the goods-producing sector has gained 2,100 (+0.5%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector increased (+4,800 or +0.3%) in January. Industries with the largest gains included information, culture and recreation (+5,200 or +4.3%), wholesale and retail trade (+4,700 or +1.3%), health care and social assistance (+4,400 or +1.5%) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+4,000 or +3.2%). Transportation and warehousing posted a significant loss at 11,600 (-8.3%) jobs, followed by a decline of 5,300 (-3.1%) jobs in accommodation and food services. The services-producing sector expanded by 46,500 (+2.5%) jobs since January 2015.

Did You Know?

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

Occupation data estimates were reclassified to the 2011 National Occupational Classification from the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics. New CANSIM tables were created for all occupation-related series and are available from the start of each respective series. At the same time, the North American Industry Classification (NAICS) 2012 replaced the NAICS 2007. The industry classification change did not affect the LFS CANSIM tables as there were only minor changes at the four-digit level.

BC Stats incorporated the revised data into our February 2016 release of the B.C. Labour Force Statistics Highlights and data tables.

Source: Statistics Canada