Issue 17-30: Labour Force Statistics

February 10, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.6% in the month of January, down from 5.8% in December. The gain in employment relative to the previous month (+11,200) was much greater than the increase in size of the labour force (+5,900). The unemployment rate was also lower when compared to January of 2016, when it was 6.6%. Job growth (+82,300) was greater than the growth in the labour force (+60,200) over the course of the past twelve months.

Compared to December, there was an increase in full-time jobs (+25,400), while part-time jobs fell by 14,200. Full-time jobs increased for both workers aged 15 to 24 years (+14,800) and 25 to 54 years of age (+12,700). On the other hand, there was a small drop in full-time employment for workers aged 55 and over (-2,100).

In January, employment in the private sector increased relative to the month before (+8,700), while public sector employment remained essentially unchanged (-900). The number of self-employed individuals dropped by 3,400 during the same time period.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.6%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of January. Manitoba (6.1%) and Quebec (6.2%) recorded the second and third lowest unemployment rates. At 8.8%, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the seventh lowest among all the provinces.

National Highlights

During the month of January, job growth in Canada as a whole (+48,300) outpaced growth in the labour force (+31,100). As a result, the national unemployment rate dropped down slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 6.8%.


In January, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 1,700 jobs, while the labour force declined by 7,400. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.8%, down 0.8 percentage points from the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment increased by 2,600 jobs. The labour force grew at a slower pace (+900), edging the unemployment rate down by 0.2 percentage points to 4.8%.

Compared to January 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.4 percentage points to 4.8%, and for women it was unchanged at 4.8%. Jobs for men increased by 27,600 (+2.6%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 34,500 (+3.6%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years rose by 1.2 percentage points to 9.9% in January. Employment increased by 6,900 jobs while the labour force grew by 12,400 people. All job gains for youth were in full-time employment (+14,800 jobs), with part-time employment (-7,900) declining. Compared to January 2016, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 9.9%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In January, employment rose for areas outside the CMAs (+7,500 or +1.1%), Victoria (+2,700 or +1.5%), Kelowna (+1,100 or +1.2%), and Vancouver (+1,000 or +0.1%). Employment declined in Abbotsford-Mission (-1,100 or -1.2%).


In January, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively unchanged (+2,200 or +0.5%) overall. Employment increased in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+2,400 or +5.1%) and construction (+2,100 or +1.0%), while employment in agriculture declined (-2,300 or -7.7%). Compared to January 2016, the goods-producing sector gained 12,400 (+2.7%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector increased by 9,000 (+0.5%) jobs in January. Industries posting gains included business, building and other support services (+5,300 or +5.4%), educational services (+3,800 or +2.4%), other services (+3,200 or +2.9%) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+3,200 or +2.2%). Health care and social assistance posted the largest decline (-5,800 or -2.0%), followed by accommodation and food services (-3,000 or -1.6%) and transportation and warehousing (-1,100 or -0.8%). The services-producing sector expanded by 69,900 (+3.7%) jobs since January 2016.