Issue 17-163: 2016 Census: Highlights from the Labour in Canada Release

December 1, 2017

Statistics Canada released the last set of Census results on November 29, 2017. This release focuses on key labour statistics for the 2016 Census of Population.

Labour in B.C.

The unemployment rate in B.C. was 6.7% in 2016. The unemployment rate for youth (people between 15 and 24 years old) was 12.8%, compared to 5.8% for people between 25 and 64 years of age.

The youth participation rate fell slightly in 2016 (60.4%) when compared to 1996 (+64.7%). On the other hand, the participation rate for people over 65 years old went up from 8.1% to 15.5% while the participation rate for people between 24 and 65 years of age remained unchanged at 79.8%.

The employment rate followed a similar pattern to the participation rate between 1996 and 2006, falling from 54.4% to 52.7% for youth. Meanwhile, the employment rate for people aged 65 years and over almost doubled from 7.5% to 14.6% in the same period.

Employment rates in the Victoria (+60.5%), Abbotsford‑Mission (+61.4%) and Vancouver (+61.8%) Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) are above the B.C. average of 59.6%. Kelowna (+59.2%) is the only CMA with an employment rate below the provincial average.

British Columbians were more likely to be self‑employed in 2016 compared to the average Canadian. About 14.4% of employed people in B.C. were self‑employed in 2016, higher than the national average of 12.3%.

Sales and service occupations were the most popular in B.C. in 2016 employing nearly one in four people (24.4%). Business, finance and administration occupations (+15.4%), and trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (+14.5%) were also categories with a large proportion of the employed labour force.

On an industry basis, retail trade (+11.7%) and health care and social assistance (+11.4%) were the largest employers, followed by the accommodation and food services (+8.4%) industry in 2016.

In 2015, around two thirds of British Columbians aged 15 years and older worked, 36.1% worked part time or only part of the year, whereas 30.6% worked full time the entire year. These proportions change depending on the age group of the individual.

Almost 4 in 5 seniors aged 65 or older were not working in 2015, compared to 9 in 10 in 1995. Of those who worked, the majority worked in part time or part year positions (+72.8%). The majority of people between 15 and 24 years of age worked part time or part year jobs (+53.7%) whereas only 11.4% work full time for the whole year. People between 25 and 64 years old are more likely to hold a full time job for the full year (+42.5%), although the proportion of people with a part time or part year job follows closely behind at 38.9%.

National Highlights

The national unemployment rate in 2016 sat at 7.7%, while the youth unemployment rate was higher at 15.5%.

The national participation rate of people over 65 years of age has also witnessed a large increase in the last two decades growing from 8.2% to 15.0% between 1996 and 2016. The participation rate for youth in that period remained unchanged at 61.4%. Meanwhile, the core working age group (25 to 64 years of age) saw an increase of two percentage points since 1996 to reach 80.6% in 2016.

In 2016, employment rates ranged from 13.9% for seniors over 65 years of age, to 75.4% for people in the core working age group. The employment rate for youth was 51.9%. Regina is the CMA with the highest employment rate at 66.8%, well above the national average of 60.2%. Saskatoon and Calgary also have high employment rates at 66.5%. Trois-Rivières (+55.1%) and Saguenay (54.5%) have the lowest employment rates among CMAs.

The most common occupations in Canada in 2016 were in the occupational category of sales and services (+23.1%). Specifically, retail salesperson was the most common occupation in 2016, with 626,775 working in this position, representing 3.6% of all workers.

The health care and social assistance industry (+12.1%) was the largest employer among all industries in 2016 with almost 2.1 million people employed. Retail trade followed closely behind with almost two million employees or 11.5% of all workers. The manufacturing sector had the third highest share of employment in 2016 at 8.8% of all workers.

Nearly one in five Canadians aged 65 and older reported working in 2015. This was almost double the proportion in 1995. The increase was concentrated on seniors working part time or for part of the year. In 2015, 5.9% of seniors worked all year, full time compared to 3.4% in 1995.

In 2015, 46.6% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 worked full time all year, up from 46.1% two decades earlier. The proportion of people in this age group working part time or only part of the year went up somewhat since 1995 from 32.8% to 35.3% in 2015.

Youth aged 15 to 24 were more likely to work in 2015 compared to 1995, with most of the increase due to a larger proportion of youth having full time jobs for the full year (+11.5%).

Data Source: Statistics Canada, Census 2016.