Issue 16-72: Labour Force Statistics

April 8, 2016

B.C. Highlights

 The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 6.5% in March, down from 6.6% in February, as employment increased by 9,000, while the labour force grew by 6,100. Compared to March 2015, the unemployment rate was up by 0.6 percentage points from 5.9%, with growth in the labour force (+93,700) outpacing job creation (+72,100).

There were more full-time (+5,500) and part-time (+3,500) jobs in March. Among workers aged 25 to54, part-time employment declined (-12,900) but there were more full-time jobs (+9,300). There was a rise in both full-time (+4,100) and part-time (+13,600) employment for workers aged 55 and over.

In March, there was employment growth in both the public sector (+4,600) and and the private sector (+14,700). The number of self-employed people decreased (-10,400).

B.C. and the Rest of Canada

The unemployment rate in B.C. was 3rd lowest in Canada at 6.5%. Manitoba and Saskatchewan had lower unemployment rates at 6.0% and 6.2% respectively, while Ontario was slightly higher at 6.8%. At 7.1%, Alberta ranked 5th lowest in Canada with Quebec higher at 7.5%.

National Highlights

After three months of little change, employment increased by 40,600 (+0.2%) in March, lowering the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points to 7.1%.


In March, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 7,100 jobs. Gains were primarily in part-time (+5,900) jobs. The labour force (+5,200) did not rise as much as employment, edging the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 6.0%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment rose by 7,000 jobs and the labour force grew by 5,100, pushing the unemployment rate down by 0.2 percentage points to 4.8%. Full-time employment jumped by 12,200, while part-time employment contracted by 5,100 jobs.Compared to March 2015, the unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percentage points to 6.0% for men and by 0.3 percentage points to 4.8% for women. Compared to one year ago, jobs for men strengthened by 29,000 (+2.8%), while for women employment climbed by 32,900 (+3.5%).

Youths Age 15 to 24 Years

 The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was up by 0.4 percentage points to 12.7% in March as a result of a larger decrease in employment (-5,300) than in the labour force (-4,300). Full-time jobs declined by 7,900 (-4.5%), while part-time jobs grew by 2,700 (+1.7%). Compared to March 2015, the unemployment rate for youth increased by 1.9 percentage points to 12.7%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In March, employment in the CMAs was stable, while ouside the CMAs employment was up by 8,500 (+1.3%).


 In March, employment in the goods-producing sector was stable (+300 or +0.1%) overall. Employment increased in agriculture (+5,700 or +29.1%) and utilities (+700 or 5.2%). There was a decline in employment in manufacturing (-4,200 or -2.3%). Compared to March 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 11,800 (+2.6%) jobs. Employment in the services-producing sector increased (+8,700 or +0.5%) in March. The number of jobs grew primarily in transportation and warehousing (+7,800 or +5.9%), professional, scientific and technical services (+4,100 or +2.2%), and health care and social assistance (+3,700 or +1.3%). Employment in wholesale and retail trade declined by 9,800 (-2.5%) jobs. The services-producing sector expanded by 60,300 (+3.3%) jobs since March 2015.

Visit the Labour Market Statistics page.