Issue 16-91: Labour Force Satistics Highlights

May 6, 2016

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.8% in April, down from 6.5% in March, as employment increased by 13,000, while the labour force contracted by 4,500. Compared to April 2015, the unemployment rate was down by 0.5 percentage points from 6.3%, with job creation (+110,400) outpacing growth in the labour force (+104,700).

On a monthly basis, there were more full-time (+21,400) jobs in April. However, there was a decrease in part-time (-8,400) jobs. Among workers aged 25 to 54, full-time employment jumped by 14,100, while part-time jobs declined by 4,900. With respect to workers aged 55 and above, there was a rise in full-time employment (+9,400) accompanied by a fall in part-time employment (-3,600).

In April, employment growth was concentrated in the private sector (+19,000) with a decrease in the public sector (-2,800). The number of self-employed people also decreased (-3,100).

B.C. and West

For the first time since comparable data became available in 1976, the unemployment rate in B.C. was the lowest among the provinces at 5.8%. Manitoba and Saskatchewan posted slightly higher unemployment rates of 6.1% and 6.3%, respectively. Ontario came in ahead of Alberta’s 5th lowest unemployment rate (7.0% vs. 7.2%, respectively).

National Highlights

Employment in Canada remained steady (-2,100) in April and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.1%.


In April, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 8,400 jobs. The labour force (+6,300) did not rise as much as employment, edging the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 5.8%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment rose by 6,600 jobs while the labour force remained steady (+600), pushing the unemployment rate down by 0.6 percentage points to 4.2%.

Compared to April 2015, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.8% for men and by 0.6 percentage points to 4.2% for women. Compared to a year ago, jobs for men strengthened by 52,500 (+5.1%), while for women employment climbed by 43,500 (+4.7%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was down by 2.2 percentage points to 10.5% in April as a result of a larger decrease in the labour force (‑11,400) than in the employment (-2,000). Full-time jobs (-2,100 or -1.3%) accounted for the weakening in employment. Compared to April 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 10.5%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In April, employment rose in Vancouver (+9,700 or +0.7%), areas outside the CMAs (+3,400 or +0.5%), and Kelowna (+1,700 or +1.9%), while employment in Abbotsford (+100 or +0.1%) was stable. Victoria (‑1,900 or -1.1%) was the only CMA posting a decline in employment.


In April, employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+6,000 or +1.3%) overall. Employment increased in construction (+12,800 or 6.2%). Employment diminished in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-3,300 or -6.2%) and agriculture (-3,000 or -11.9%). Compared to April 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 21,000 (+4.9%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector increased (+7,000 or +0.4%) in April. The number of jobs grew primarily in accommodation and food services (+4,800 or +2.9%), business building and other support services (+3,800 or +3.9%), and wholesale and retail trade (+2,500 or +0.7%). Employment declined in transportation and warehousing (-3,000 or -2.1%), followed by finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-2,600 or -2.0%), and health care and social assistance (-2,100 or -0.7%). The services-producing sector expanded by 89,400 (+5.3%) jobs since April 2015.