In March 2017, the
unemployment rate in BC is 5.7% and 8.8% in Alberta.
-- : suppressed to meet the
confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act
The unemployment rate in British Columbia
was 5.4% in March, up from 5.1% in February, but lower than it was in
March 2016, when it was 6.4%. Compared to February, there were 13,900
more people in the labour force. Employment grew (+4,200) during this
time period, but the number of unemployed also went up (+9,700). Over
the past twelve months, job growth (+81,900) was greater than the growth
in the labour force (+60,000).
Compared to February, there were 2,200
fewer full-time jobs, while part-time jobs increased by 6,300.
In March, employment in the public sector
went down (-6,900), while the number of jobs in the private sector grew
(+18,600). The number of self-employed individuals fell (-7,600) during
the same time period.
In March, employment in British Columbia
for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 2,900 jobs, while the labour
force increased by 7,600. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.9%,
up 0.3 percentage points from the previous month.
For women (aged 25 years and over),
employment decreased by 2,300 jobs. The labour force also contracted,
though at a slower pace (-1,900), with the unemployment rate steady at
Compared to March 2016, the unemployment
rate for men was down by 1.0 percentage points to 4.9%, and for women it
was down by 0.4 percentage points to 4.3%. Jobs for men increased by
23,300 (+2.2%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed
by 38,500 (+4.0%).
Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years
The unemployment rate for youth aged 15
to 24 years rose by 1.0 percentage points to 9.7% in March. Employment
increased by 3,600 jobs while the labour force strengthened by 8,200
people. Compared to March 2016, the unemployment rate for youth
decreased by 2.8 percentage points to 9.7%.
In March, employment in the
goods-producing sector was relatively unchanged (-1,100 or -0.2%)
overall. The majority of the employment losses were in agriculture
(-2,500 or -8.7%) and construction (-1,700 or -0.8%). Employment
increased for forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+3,700
or +7.7%). Compared to March 2016, the goods-producing sector gained
9,800 (+2.1%) jobs.
Employment in the services-producing
sector increased by 5,300 (+0.3%) jobs in March. Industries posting
gains included information, culture and recreation (+12,000 or +9.3%),
wholesale and retail trade (+8,500 or +2.3%), and other services (+2,700
or +2.3%). Accommodation and food services accounted for the largest
decline in the sector (-7,500 or -4.1%), followed by educational
services (-6,600 or -4.0%) and public administration (-3,800 or -3.6%).
The services-produced sector expanded by 72,100 (+3.8%) jobs since March
BC Stats Infoline
The number of regular Employment
Insurance (EI) beneficiaries fell by 11,700 (-2.1%)
to 554,200 in February, similar to the level of June 2016 -- just before
the administrative changes that took effect last July. Information on
2016 EI changes is available on Employment and Social Development
The decrease in the number of
beneficiaries in February 2017 was spread among the provinces in Central
and Western Canada, namely Saskatchewan (-4.1%), Alberta (-3.6%),
Quebec (-3.4%) and British Columbia (-2.1%),
as well as Ontario (-1.8%) and Manitoba (-1.8%).
In contrast, the number of beneficiaries
increased in Nova Scotia (+2.6%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.5%), while
it was little changed in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick.
Compared with February 2016, the number
of regular EI beneficiaries in Canada edged up 0.7%.
In general, changes in the number of EI
beneficiaries reflect various situations, including people becoming
beneficiaries, those going back to work and those no longer receiving
The number of EI recipients in
Saskatchewan fell for the fourth consecutive month, down 4.1% to 18,000
in February. The decrease was spread across the province, including the
census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Saskatoon (-3.3%)
and Regina (-2.8%). In the 12 months to
February, the number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan was up 13.5%.
In Alberta, 88,500 people received
benefits in February, down 3.6%. This was the second consecutive monthly
decline for the province. All areas recorded decreases, including the
CMAs of Calgary (-3.5%) and Edmonton (-1.4%).
On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries in Alberta rose
The number of EI beneficiaries in Quebec
fell by 3.4% to 131,700 in February -- the
lowest level since the start of the series in 1997. The most recent
downward trend in Quebec's beneficiaries, which began at the end of
2015, coincides with a downward trend in unemployment. In the 12 months
to February, the number of beneficiaries in Quebec was down 10.5%.
In British Columbia, 53,500 people
received benefits in February, down 2.1% from January. While the decline
was spread across the province, most of it was recorded in areas outside
the CMAs. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries
in British Columbia edged down (-0.9%).
Ontario had 134,900 people receiving
benefits in February, down 1.8% from the previous month.
The number of EI beneficiaries in
Manitoba also fell by 1.8%, to 15,700 in February. In the 12 months to
February, the number of EI recipients in the province was virtually
In Nova Scotia, 29,500 people received
benefits, up 2.6% in February. Compared with February 2016, the number
of beneficiaries in Nova Scotia was up 5.9%.
The number of EI recipients in Prince
Edward Island rose by 1.5% to 8,100 in February, continuing an upward
trend that began at the end of 2014. Compared with February 2016, the
number of beneficiaries in the province was up 5.6%.
There was virtually no change in the
province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Likewise, little change was
recorded in New Brunswick overall.
beneficiaries by occupation
In the 12 months to February, the number
of EI beneficiaries rose in 6 of the 10 major occupational groups, most
notably art, culture, recreation and sport (+12.8%), management (+7.5%)
and health (+6.2%). On the other hand, there were fewer beneficiaries
whose last job was in manufacturing and utilities (-5.2%)
and in education, law and social, community and government services (-2.7%).
Following a decrease in January, EI
claims rose by 1.7% (+3,800) to 230,000 in February. Compared with 12
months earlier, EI claims were down 4.3%.
The largest monthly increase in claims in
February was recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador (+21.8%). This was
also the second consecutive monthly increase and may reflect the impact
of the end of some major development projects. Employment in the
province has been on a downward trend since early 2013.
The number of claims also rose in
Manitoba (+4.9%), Saskatchewan (+4.9%), New Brunswick (+4.4%), Quebec
(+2.1%) and Prince Edward Island (+2.1%). Overall, claims in most of
these provinces have been trending downward in recent months. In Quebec,
claims have been edging down slightly.
On the other hand, claims fell in Nova
Scotia (-1.8%), while they were essentially
unchanged in Alberta and Ontario. Similarly, British Columbia showed no
change in claims in February, following a marked decrease in January.
The number of claims provides an
indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Employment was little changed in March
(+19,000 or +0.1%), while the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage
points to 6.7% as more people searched for work.
In the first quarter of 2017, employment
gains totalled 83,000 or 0.5%. This growth is comparable to the last
quarter of 2016 (+91,000 or +0.5%) and notably higher than the first
quarter of 2016 (+36,000 or +0.2%).
Compared with 12 months earlier,
employment increased by 276,000 (+1.5%), mostly in full-time work. Over
the same period, the total number of hours worked rose 0.7%.
In March, employment increased for men
aged 25 to 54, while there was little change among other demographic
Employment rose in Alberta, Nova Scotia
and Manitoba. At the same time, employment fell in Saskatchewan, while
it was relatively stable in the remaining provinces.
There were more people working in
manufacturing; business, building and other support services; wholesale
and retail trade; and information, culture and recreation. On the other
hand, declines were recorded in educational services; transportation and
warehousing; "other services"; and public administration.
Employment rose by 35,000 among men aged
25 to 54 in March, all in full-time work. Employment for this group has
been on an upward trend, with gains totalling 101,000 (+1.6%) since
August. This follows virtually no growth in 2015 and the first half of
2016. The unemployment rate for core-aged men was unchanged in March, as
more of them participated in the labour market. On a year-over-year
basis, the unemployment rate for men aged 25 to 54 declined 0.8
percentage points to 5.8%.
Among women aged 25 to 54, employment
held steady in March and the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged
at 5.2%. Employment among core-aged women has been on an upward trend
since the fall of 2016. Gains totalled 86,000 (+1.5%) in the 12 months
to March, entirely in full-time work.
Employment among men and women aged 55
and older edged down in March. The unemployment rate for this age group
rose 0.4 percentage points to 6.2%, mostly due to more women searching
for work. On a year-over-year basis, employment for people aged 55 and
older rose by 101,000 or 2.7%, primarily the result of the continued
transition of the baby-boom cohort into this older age group.
For youths aged 15 to 24, overall
employment held steady in March, as full-time work edged up while
part-time employment decreased. The youth unemployment rate was down
slightly from March 2016 at 12.8%. Employment was relatively unchanged
for this group in the 12 months to March, despite a declining youth
Employment in Alberta rose by 20,000 in
March, all in full-time work. Employment in the province has been on an
upward trend since the autumn of 2016, following a strong downward trend
which began in 2015. The unemployment rate was little changed in March,
at 8.4%, as more people participated in the labour market. This was down
from a recent high of 9.0% observed in November 2016, when the
unemployment rate reached a peak associated with the commodities
downturn that began in 2014.
There were 4,600 more people working in
Nova Scotia in March. More people also searched for work and the
unemployment rate increased 0.5 percentage points to 8.6%. The level of
employment and the unemployment rate were each virtually unchanged from
12 months earlier.
In Manitoba, employment increased by
2,800 and the unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.5%.
Employment in the province has been on a slight upward trend since
November 2016, with gains totalling 8,600 (+1.4%) during that period.
Employment declined by 5,100 in
Saskatchewan in March, partly offsetting an increase observed in
February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.0% as fewer people
participated in the labour market. Compared with 12 months earlier,
employment in Saskatchewan was virtually unchanged.
In March, there was little month-to-month
employment change in the three most populous provinces. On a
year-over-year basis, employment growth was positive in British Columbia
(+3.5%), Quebec (+2.4%), and Ontario (+1.2%). An upward trend in
employment among all three of these provinces was observed over the
second half of 2016. In March, British Columbia continued to have the
lowest unemployment rate of all provinces, at 5.4%, while Quebec and
Ontario each had an unemployment rate of 6.4%.
Quarterly update for
The Labour Force Survey collects labour
market data in the territories, produced in the form of three-month
In the first quarter of 2017, employment
in Yukon increased by 600 compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. Over
the same period, the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4%, as
more people also participated in the labour market.
Employment in the Northwest Territories
declined by 700 in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the previous
quarter, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.0%.
In Nunavut, employment fell by 500 in the
first quarter of 2017 compared with the last quarter of 2016 and the
unemployment rate was 15.2%.
Following a downward trend in
manufacturing observed throughout 2016, employment in this industry rose
by an estimated 24,000 in March. This is the largest one-month increase
in manufacturing since August 2002. The net effect was that employment
in manufacturing was at virtually the same level as 12 months earlier.
Compared with its peak in the early 2000s, there were about 630,000
(-27%) fewer people working in manufacturing, and employment in the
industry has been relatively flat since the 2008-2009 recession.
There were 18,000 more people working in
business, building and other support services, contributing to total
gains of 31,000 (+4.2%) in the first quarter of 2017. Employment in this
industry was flat for most of 2016. This industry is broad and includes
administrative or cleaning services to businesses and buildings, as well
as employment services.
In wholesale and retail trade, employment
increased for the second consecutive month, up 17,000 in March. On a
year-over-year basis, there were 51,000 (+1.9%) more people working in
the industry. Wholesale and retail trade is the largest industry group
by employment, comprising an estimated 2.8 million people or 15% of all
Employment in information, culture and
recreation rose by 11,000 in March. Compared with 12 months earlier,
employment was up 32,000 (+4.2%). This industry group includes amusement
and heritage industries, as well as data processing, hosting and related
In educational services, employment
declined by 15,000 in March, spread across several provinces. Despite
this decline, there was relatively no change in employment on a
Employment declined by 13,000 in
transportation and warehousing, following two months of gains. On a
year-over-year basis, employment in this industry was little changed.
There were 9,500 fewer people working in
"other services" in March. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment
in this industry was up 20,000 (+2.7%), mostly due to gains observed in
the autumn of 2016. "Other services" include services related to civic
and professional organizations, private households, and repair and
In public administration, employment fell
by 7,800 in March, following two months of increases. Compared with
March 2016, there were 65,000 (+7.2%) more people working in public
administration. Most of the year-over-year increase was in local,
municipal and regional public administration.
Employment in agriculture declined by
6,900 in the month, and was down by 19,000 (-6.4%) compared with March
In March, the number of employees was
little changed in both the private and public sectors. Compared with 12
months earlier, the number of private sector employees increased by
220,000 (+1.9%), while the number of public sector employees increased
by 67,000 (+1.9%). Self-employment was little changed on both a monthly
and year-over-year basis.
Fourth Quarter 2016
Job vacancies rose 6.3% from the fourth
quarter of 2015 to 375,000 in the fourth quarter, following little
year-over-year change in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the job vacancy
rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 2.4%.
Compared with the third quarter of 2016,
the number of job vacancies (unadjusted for seasonality) fell by 6.6% in
Canada, while the job vacancy rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points.
These quarter-to-quarter declines may reflect typical seasonal
recruitment patterns, as job vacancies also decreased (-12.0%)
between the same quarters in 2015.
The job vacancy rate refers to the share
of jobs that are unfilled out of all available payroll jobs. It
represents the number of job vacancies expressed as a percentage of
labour demand; that is, the sum of all occupied and vacant jobs.
British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario had
more job vacancies between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the fourth
quarter of 2016. These provinces also had the largest growth in payroll
employment among all the provinces. Meanwhile, job vacancies fell in
five provinces and were little changed in New Brunswick and Manitoba.
Job vacancies in British Columbia were up
12,000 (+21.0%) in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter a
year earlier. The job vacancy rate rose 0.5 percentage points to 3.3%,
the largest increase among the provinces. Increases were focused in the
economic regions of Lower Mainland-Southwest and Vancouver Island and
Since the third quarter of 2015, British
Columbia has had the highest job vacancy rate among the provinces.
Higher job vacancy rates are often associated with periods of economic
growth. Other indicators, such as the employment growth and the
unemployment-to-vacancies ratio, point to a strong economy and a tighter
labour market for the province. Generally, labour markets are tighter
when the number of people looking for work is low relative to the number
of job vacancies. Over the same period, the Survey of Employment,
Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) showed that British Columbia had the strongest
employment growth and the lowest unemployment-to-job vacancies ratio
among the provinces.
In Quebec, job vacancies rose by 8,600
(+16.2%) in the fourth quarter. The job vacancy rate in the province
increased 0.2 percentage points to 1.8%. Vacancies rose in most economic
regions, although they were little changed in Montréal.
Job vacancies in Ontario rose by 15,000
(+10.6%) in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter one year
earlier and the job vacancy rate increased from 2.4% to 2.6%.
The number of job vacancies in Alberta
fell by 8,100 (-16.0%) in the fourth quarter
compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, the largest year-over-year
decrease among the provinces. At the same time, the job vacancy rate
declined from 2.5% to 2.2%. Wood-Buffalo-Cold Lake (+400) was the sole
economic region in Alberta to report more vacancies in the fourth
quarter compared with the same quarter one year earlier. At the same
time, the job vacancy rate in this economic region increased 0.8
percentage points to 2.4%, as employment fell by 17.5%.
The number of job vacancies and the job
vacancy rate in Alberta have been declining on a year-over-year basis
since the start of the series. However, the 8,100 job vacancy decline in
the fourth quarter was the smallest to date, which may reflect a slowing
of this trend. Recent employment data from the Labour Force Survey point
to modest improvements in labour market conditions in Alberta. Following
significant declines from the fall of 2015 to the summer of 2016, total
employment in the province stabilized in the second half of 2016.
Despite the overall decline in Alberta,
job vacancies were up in several sectors, including administrative and
support services (+1,100) as well as mining, quarrying, and oil and gas
Job vacancies by
Nationally, the number of job vacancies
increased in most broad occupational groups on a year-over-year basis.
Close to 60% of the net national increase was concentrated in two
occupational groups. Vacancies in business, finance and
administration occupations were up 9,500, particularly in mail and
message distribution occupations (+5,300) and general office workers
(+2,300). In addition, vacancies increased notably in trades, transport
and equipment operators and related occupations (+3,700), mainly for
longshore workers and material handlers (+1,300) and carpenters and
vacancies by occupation
In Ontario, the rise in job vacancies in
the fourth quarter was spread across most broad occupational groups. The
largest increases were in sales and service occupations (+5,100);
business, finance and administration occupations (+4,400); as well as
trades, transport and equipment operators (+3,800). The gain in
vacancies in trades, transport and equipment operators in the province
accounted for most of the national change for this occupation. In the
fourth quarter, the lone broad occupational group to have fewer job
vacancies in Ontario was manufacturing and utilities (-1,400).
In British Columbia, job vacancies rose
in most broad occupational groups. There were notable increases in
business, finance and administration occupations (+2,400) and trades,
transport and equipment operators (+1,700).
Job vacancies in Quebec rose the most in
occupations related to manufacturing and utilities (+1,800); business,
finance and administration occupations (+1,700); as well as those in
trades, transport and equipment operators (+1,700). Overall, temporary
positions accounted for about 45% of the rise in vacancies in Quebec,
compared with about 25% in Ontario and 30% in British Columbia.
Close to 90% of the decline in vacancies
in Alberta in the fourth quarter was concentrated in sales and service
occupations. For the province as a whole, almost 60% of the decrease in
job vacancies was in full-time positions.
Job vacancy rate by
Nationally, the number of job vacancies
in the fourth quarter increased in 4 of the 10 largest industrial
sectors, led by transportation and warehousing (+5,000).
Job vacancies grew by 1,200 (+79.8%) in
mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction in the fourth quarter, the
first year-over-year increase in vacancies for the sector since the
start of the series. About 45% of the increase in this sector was the
result of gains in Alberta. Nationally, the job vacancy rate for the
sector increased by 0.7 percentage points to 1.4%.
Job vacancies and
offered hourly wage
Nationally, the average offered hourly
wage for job vacancies was $19.70 in the fourth quarter, up $0.75 or
4.0% compared with the same quarter one year earlier.
Changes in the average offered hourly
wage can reflect a variety of factors, including wage growth and changes
in the composition of job vacancies by occupation, sector and between
part- and full-time positions.
Increases in the offered wage were spread
across most broad occupational groups, with management (+7.4%);
education, law and social, community and government services (+7.1%);
and natural resources, agriculture and related production (+6.0%)
occupations reporting the largest growth in the quarter.
An increase in the number of job
vacancies for higher-paying occupations, such as mine service workers
and operators in oil and gas drilling as well as contractors and
supervisors in mining, oil and gas, contributed to the rise in the
offered wage for natural resources, agriculture and related production
Average weekly earnings of non-farm
payroll employees were $968 in February, little changed from January and
up 1.5% from 12 months earlier.
In general, changes in weekly earnings
reflect a number of factors, including wage growth; changes in the
composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job
experience; and average hours worked per week.
Non-farm payroll employees worked an
average of 32.6 hours per week in February, down slightly from 32.7
hours in January and less than the 32.9 hours observed 12 months
earnings by sector
Compared with February 2016, average
weekly earnings rose in 3 of the 10 largest industrial sectors: health
care and social assistance; manufacturing; and professional, scientific
and technical services. Earnings were little changed in the remaining
Average weekly earnings in health care
and social assistance increased 3.3% to $893. Earnings were up across
all subsectors, with the largest increase in hospitals.
In manufacturing, average weekly earnings
rose 3.1% to $1,116. Earnings growth was spread across transportation
equipment, wood product and chemical manufacturing. Earnings in
manufacturing increased in most provinces, and employment also increased
notably in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Earnings in
manufacturing have been on an upward trend since the fall of 2016.
In professional, scientific and technical
services, weekly earnings grew 2.4% to $1,333. Notable increases were
observed in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
earnings by province
In the 12 months to February, average
weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose in 7 provinces, led
by Newfoundland and Labrador. Earnings were down in Alberta and little
changed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Average weekly earnings in Newfoundland
and Labrador increased 3.6% to $1,042, driven by gains in construction
and educational services. The increase was also due in part to earnings
in this province having been at a relatively low point in February 2016.
In Ontario, average weekly earnings grew
2.4% to $988. Earnings growth was spread across several sectors,
especially professional, scientific and technical services,
manufacturing, and health care and social assistance.
Average weekly earnings in Manitoba rose
2.0% to $907, with notable gains in health care and social assistance.
Earnings in the province have trended upward since October 2016.
Average weekly earnings in British
Columbia were up 2.0% to $931. Finance and insurance, manufacturing and
construction were the largest contributors to growth.
In Quebec, average weekly earnings grew
1.7% to $894. Earnings growth was primarily driven by gains in
manufacturing and health care and social assistance. Earnings in the
province have been on an upward trend since the summer of 2016.
Average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan
rose 1.6% to $1,004. Earnings in the province were boosted by
educational services and construction.
In Prince Edward Island, earnings were up
1.2% to $823, with notable gains in health care and social assistance,
and in manufacturing.
On the other hand, average weekly
earnings in Alberta fell 1.2% to $1,108. The decline was driven by
decreases in construction and wholesale trade. However, the downward
trend in the province that began in 2015 has lessened since the second
half of 2016.
employment by sector
The total number of non-farm payroll
employees rose by 64,500 (+0.4%) from January. The number of payroll
jobs grew the most in retail trade and educational services. At the same
time, there were fewer payroll employees working in administrative and
Compared with February 2016, the number
of non-farm payroll employees was up 305,100 (+1.9%). Increases were
observed in most of the largest industrial sectors, led by health care
and social assistance (+47,400 or +2.6%), accommodation and food
services (+31,900 or +2.5%), construction (+26,200 or +2.7%) and
professional, scientific and technical services (+25,600 or +3.0%). At
the same time, there was little change in the number of employees in
Recent labour market
In the 12 months to February, the pace of
employment growth was similar in both of Statistics Canada's monthly
surveys with data on employment: the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and
Hours (SEPH) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
During this period, both surveys showed
employment gains in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia as well as New
Brunswick. Specifically in New Brunswick, the number of payroll
employees in SEPH showed growth of 1.8%, comparable to the national
average (+1.9%) although earnings were little changed. At the same time,
the LFS showed the unemployment rate for the province declined 0.9
percentage points to 8.9%.