Issue 17-51: Labour Force Statistics
March 10, 2017
The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.1% in February, down from 5.6% in January. The gain in employment relative to the previous month (+19,400) was much greater than the increase in the size of the labour force (+6,600). The unemployment rate was also lower when compared to February 2016, when it was 6.5%. Job growth (+84,900) was greater than the growth in the labour force (+50,400) over the course of the past twelve months.
Compared to January, there were 33,400 more full-time jobs, while part-time jobs fell by 13,900.
In February, employment in both the public sector (+13,800) and the private sector (+6,400) increased relative to the month before, while the number of self-employed individuals dropped slightly (-800) during the same time period.
At 5.1%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada during the month of February. Manitoba (5.8%) and Saskatchewan (6.0%) recorded the second and third lowest unemployment rates. At 8.3%, Alberta’s unemployment rate was seventh lowest among the provinces.
During the month of February, employment in Canada was almost unchanged (+15,300 or +0.1%), while the labour force shrank (-23,000 or -0.1%). As a result, the national unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 6.6%.
In February, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 11,300 jobs, while the labour force increased by 9,000. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.6%, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month.
For women (aged 25 years and over), employment increased by 11,300 jobs. The labour force grew at a slower pace (+6,100), pushing the unemployment rate down by 0.5 percentage points to 4.3%.
Compared to February 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.5 percentage points to 4.6%, and for women it was down by 0.6 percentage points to 4.3%. Jobs for men increased by 26,700 (+2.5%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 46,900 (+4.9%).
Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years
The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years fell by 1.2 percentage points to 8.7% in February. Employment decreased by 3,300 jobs while the labour force diminished by 8,500 people. Compared to February 2016, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 3.5 percentage points to 8.7%.
Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)
In February, employment rose in Vancouver (+13,400 or +1.0%), areas outside the CMAs (+5,200 or +0.8%), Victoria (+4,200 or +2.2%).Employment was unchanged in Abbotsford-Mission (-200 or -0.2%) and down in Kelowna (-3,600 or -3.7%).