Issue 17-06: Labour Force Statistics

January 6, 2017

B.C. Highlights

 The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.8% in December, down from 6.1% in November. The gain in employment relative to the previous month (+17,000) was much greater than the increase in size of the labour force (+9,100). The unemployment rate was lower compared to December of 2015, when it was 6.7%. Job growth (+72,400) was greater than the growth in the labour force (+52,500) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to November, there was an increase in both full-time (+2,100) and part-time (+14,900) jobs. Core working-age individuals (25 to 54 years of age) and older workers (age 55 and above) experienced increases in full-time employment (+3,200 and +2,600, respectively). On the other hand, full-time employment dropped (-3,700) for workers aged 15 to 24 years.

In December, employment in the private sector increased relative to the month before (+26,200), while public sector employment experienced a slight decline (-1,400). The number of self-employed individuals dropped by 7,800 during the same time period.
Provincial Comparisons

At 5.8%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of December. Manitoba (6.3%) and Ontario (6.4%) recorded the second and third lowest unemployment rates. At 8.5%, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the seventh lowest among all the provinces.

National Highlights

During the month of December, job growth in Canada as a whole (+53,700) was offset by an increase in the size of the labour force (+68,500). As a result, the national unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 6.9%.


In December, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) was unchanged (-100 jobs), while the labour force was stable (+100). As a result, the unemployment rate remained 5.6%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment increased by 8,900 jobs. The labour force grew at a slower pace (+8,200), edging the unemployment rate down by 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%.

Compared to December 2015, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.5 percentage points to 5.6%, and for women it was down by 0.3 percentage points to 5.0%. Jobs for men increased by 20,600 (+1.9%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 40,200 (+4.2%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years dropped by 2.1 percentage points to 8.5% in December. Employment increased by 8,300 jobs while the labour force grew by 800 people. All job gains for youth were in part-time employment (+12,000 jobs), with full-time employment (-3,700) declining. Compared to December 2015, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 3.9 percentage points to 8.5%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In December, employment rose for Vancouver (+12,300 or +0.9%), areas outside the CMAs (+8,400 or +1.3%) and Kelowna (+1,800 or +1.9%). Employment declined in Victoria (-4,400 or -2.3%) and Abbotsford (-1,100 or -1.2%).


In December, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively unchanged (-1,200 or -0.3%) overall. Employment declined in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-3,800 or -7.5%), and construction (-2,700 or -1.2%). Agriculture (+3,400 or +12.9%) and manufacturing (+2,100 or +1.2%) posted gains. Compared to December 2015, the goods-producing sector gained 5,600 (+1.2%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector increased by 18,300 (+1.0%) jobs in December. Accommodation and food services (+11,600 or +6.6%) and wholesale and retail trade (+9,800 or +2.7%) led the sector, followed by other services (+4,100 or +3.9%) and transportation and warehousing (+3,500 or +2.5%). Industries posting declines included business, building and other support services (-8,600 or -8.0%), public administration (-1,900 or -1.8%), information, culture and recreation (-1,400 or -1.1%), and professional, scientific and technical services (-1,400 or -0.7%). The services-producing sector expanded by 66,900 (+3.6%) jobs since December 2015.