Issue 16-208: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

November 4, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 6.2% in October, up from 5.7% in September. Even though employment increased since the previous month (+14,900), the labour force as a whole grew much more (+28,800). The unemployment rate was lower compared to October of 2015, when it was 6.4%. Job creation (+55,600) outpaced growth in the labour force (+52,100) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to September, both full-time (+8,800) and part-time (+6,200) jobs increased. For workers aged 15 to 24, and core working-age individuals (25 to 54 years of age), full-time employment grew by 2,400 and 8,100 respectively, while older workers (age 55 years and over) experienced a drop in full-time jobs (-1,700).

In October, employment in the private sector increased relative to September (+22,200), while public sector employment (-2,100) and the number of self-employed individuals (-5,200) declined.

At 6.2%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of October. At 6.4%, Ontario and Manitoba jointly recorded the second lowest unemployment rates in the country. With an unemployment rate of 8.5%, Alberta had the fourth highest jobless rate among all the provinces.

National Highlights

In October, the unemployment rate in Canada as a whole remained unchanged at 7.0%. Relative to the previous month, there was an increase in total employment (+43,900), as part-time jobs climbed up (+67,100) while full-time employment declined (‑23,100). In addition, growth in the labour force (+46,000) slightly outpaced growth in total employment.


In October, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 8,900 jobs, while the labour force grew by 11,500. As a result, the unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.8%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment was unchanged (+300 jobs). The labour force expanded in October by 5,500 pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 5.1%.

Compared to October 2015, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.3 percentage points to 5.8%, and for women it was unchanged at 5.1%. Jobs for men increased by 20,200 (+1.9%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 29,000 (+3.0%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 1.3 percentage points to 10.2% in October. Employment expanded by 5,800 jobs, while the labour force grew twice as fast with 11,900 more youths joining the labour market. Gains in employment were spread fairly equally between full-time (+2,400) and part-time (+3,400) employment. Compared to October 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 0.9 percentage points to 10.2%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In October, employment rose for areas outside the CMAs (+13,200 or +2.0%), Vancouver (+2,200 or +0.2%) and Kelowna (+1,400 or +1.6%). Employment declined in Victoria (-1,800 or -1.0%) and was stable in Abbotsford (-100 or -0.1%).


Employment in the services-producing sector was up (+7,200 or +0.4%) from September. Industries posting the largest gains were wholesale and retail trade (+5,700 or +1.6%), health care and social assistance (+5,300 or +1.8%), transportation and warehousing (+2,700 or +1.9%). Employment dropped in business, building and other support services (-3,900 or -3.5%), information, culture and recreation (-3,400 or -2.6%), educational services (-2,300 or -1.4%), and accommodation and food services (-1,900 or -1.1%). The services-producing sector expanded by 47,200 (+2.5%) jobs since October 2.