Issue 16-43: Labour Force Statistics Highlights

March 11, 2016

B.C. Highlights

B.C. was the only province to experience job growth (+14,100) in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.6% as the labour force grew by a similar amount (+15,000). Compared to February 2015, the unemployment rate was up by 0.5 percentage points from 6.1% with growth in the labour force (+88,500) outpacing job creation (+68,800).

Part-time jobs increased substantially (+20,100), while full-time jobs decreased slightly (-6,000). The shift towards part-time employment was most notable for workers aged 15 to 24 years with the number of part-time jobs expanding (+10,700) and full-time jobs decreasing ( 5,200). There was also some growth in the number of part-time jobs for workers aged 55 years and over (+4,400) and aged 25 to 54 years (+4,900).

In February, public sector employment shrank (-9,400) while private sector employment grew (+17,400) and the number of self-employed people rose slightly (+6,000).

B.C. and the rest of Canada

 The unemployment rate in B.C. was 3rd lowest in Canada at 6.6%. Saskatchewan and Manitoba had lower unemployment rates at 5.9% and 6.0% respectively, while Ontario was slightly higher at 6.8%. At 7.9% Alberta ranked 6th lowest in Canada with Quebec lower at 7.6%.

National Highlights

 Canada’s unemployment rate rose in February to 7.3% (+0.1 percentage points). Employment was virtually unchanged in February (-2,300 or 0.0%) with a reduction in full-time employment (-51,800) offset by an expansion in part-time employment (+49,500).


In February, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 10,700 jobs. There were gains in both full-time (+3,400) and part-time (+7,300) jobs. The labour force (+10,300) did not rise as much as employment, edging the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment declined by 2,200 jobs and the labour force was mostly unchanged (-400), pushing the unemployment rate up by 0.2 percentage points to 5.0%. Full-time employment contracted by 4,200, while part-time employment expanded by 2,100 jobs.

Compared to February 2015, the unemployment rate rose for men by 0.7 percentage points to 6.2% and for women by 0.3 percentage points to 5.0%. Compared to one year ago, jobs for men strengthened by 23,300 (+2.2%), while for women employment climbed by 27,600 (+3.0%).

Youths ages 15 to 24 years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was down by 0.3 percentage points to 12.3% in February as a result of a larger increase in employment (+5,600) than the labour force (+5,100). Full-time jobs declined by 5,200, while part-time jobs grew by 10,700. Compared to February 2015, the unemployment rate for youth increased by 0.9 percentage points to 12.3%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In February, employment fell in Victoria (-2,700 or 1.5%) and Abbotsford (-1,700 or -1.9%). Employment rose in Vancouver (+8,500 or +0.6%) and in areas outside the CMAs (+10,200 or +1.6%), while employment in Kelowna was steady (-200 or -0.2%).


In February, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively stable (+5,200 or +1.1%) overall. Employment increased in construction (+3,700 or +1.8%), forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+2,100 or +4.0%) and agriculture (+900 or +4.8%). There was a decline in employment in utilities (-1,000 or -6.9%), while manufacturing was relatively unchanged (-600 or -0.3%). Compared to February 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 14,700 (+3.2%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector increased (+8,900 or +0.5%) in February. Jobs in wholesale and retail trade (+22,000 or +6.0%) rose substantially, followed by transportation and warehousing (+4,000 or +3.1%). Health care and social assistance posted the largest drop in employment (-8,000 or -2.7%), followed by other services (-5,600 or 5.2%), and educational services (-5,100 or 3.0%). The services-producing sector expanded by 54,100 (+3.0%) jobs since February 2015.