Issue 16-229: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

December 6, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 6.1% in November, down from 6.2% in October. Even though employment dropped since the previous month (-9,300), the labour force as a whole decreased in size by a greater amount (-11,600). The unemployment rate was lower compared to November 2015, when it was 6.2%. Job growth (+48,400) was virtually identical to growth in the labour force (+48,300) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to October, both full-time (-5,600) and part-time (-3,700) jobs decreased. For workers aged 15 to 24 years, full-time jobs dropped by 12,600, while core working-age individuals (25 to 54 years of age) experienced an increase in full-time employment (+6,900). Full-time jobs for workers aged 55 years and over remained virtually identical to the previous month (+200).

In November, employment in the private sector increased relative to October (+1,600), while public sector employment (-3,600) and the number of self-employed individuals (-7,300) decreased.

Provincial Comparisons

At 6.1%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of November. At 6.2%, Manitoba and Quebec jointly recorded the second lowest unemployment rates in the country. With an increase to 9.0%, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the third highest among all the provinces.

National Highlights

In November, after two consecutive months of increases, employment in Canada was little changed in November (+10,700 or +0.1%). With fewer people searching for work, the unemployment rate in Canada as a whole decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 6.8%.


In November, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) was unchanged (-100 jobs), while the labour force contracted slightly (-2,800). As a result, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.6%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment declined marginally (-1,600 jobs). The labour force shrank in November by 1,900 leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.1%.

Compared to November 2015, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.1 percentage points to 5.6%, and for women it was up by 0.1 percentage points to 5.1%. Jobs for men increased by 18,700 (+1.8%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 25,200 (+2.6%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 0.4 percentage points to 10.6% in November. Employment dropped by 7,600 jobs, while the labour force declined to a similar extent with 6,900 youths leaving the labour market. All job losses for youth were in full-time employment (-12,600 jobs), with part-time employment (+5,000 jobs) gains counterbalancing the losses. Compared to November 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 10.6%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In November, employment declined in Vancouver (‑21,600 or -1.6%) and rose in all other areas across the province–areas outside the CMAs (+4,300 or +0.7%), Victoria (+3,200 or +1.7%), Abbotsford (+2,800 or +3.0%), and Kelowna (+2,000 or +2.2%).


In November, employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+6,700 or +1.4%) overall. All industries posted moderate gains in employment, with the exception of utilities where employment was unchanged. Construction (+3,500 or 1.6%) led employment gains, followed by forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+2,300 or +4.7%). Compared to November 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 5,800 (+1.2%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector waned by 16,000 (-0.8%) jobs in November. Accommodation and food services (+4,700 or +2.7%), and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+1,400 or +1.0%) were the only industries posting gains. Industries posting the largest declines were public administration (-4,700 or -4.3%), educational services (‑3,300 or -2.0%), information, culture and recreation (‑2,700 or -2.1%), transportation and warehousing (‑2,700 or -1.9%), and other services (-2,500 or -2.3%). The services-producing sector expanded by 42,600 (+2.3%) jobs since November 2015.