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BC unemployment rate at 6.2% in April, down from 7% in March

The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey for April 2012 is out and contains the following statistics of interest:

British Columbia

  • The unemployment rate declined from 7% in March to 6.2% in April 2012. 
  • Continuing an upward trend that began in February 2011, employment in British Columbia increased by 20,000 in April.
  • Compared with 12 months earlier, employment growth was 2.1%, the third-highest of all provinces.
  • Since the unemployment rate peaked at 8.7% in February 2011, it has gradually declined to 6.2% in April.


  • Employment increased by 58,000 in April, mostly in full-time work. This was the second consecutive month of notable gains after four months of little change. With more people searching for work, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 7.3%.
  • Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.2% or 214,000. All of the growth over the 12 months was in full-time work, up 217,000 (+1.6%), while part-time employment was unchanged. The total number of hours worked rose 1.5% over the same period.

Canada-United States comparison

  • The number of employed as a percentage of the working-age population in Canada, that is the employment rate-when adjusted to U.S. concepts-was markedly lower than that of the United States from the early 1990s until 2002.Since 2002, the adjusted employment rate in Canada has been higher, with the gap between the two countries widening since late 2006.
  • In April, the employment rate was 62.6% in Canada when adjusted to U.S. concepts. This was 4.2 percentage points higher than the comparable rate of 58.4% in the United States. The gap in the employment rates between the two countries has been around 4 percentage points since June 2010.
  • From the early 1980s until 2008, the adjusted Canadian unemployment rate was higher than the rate in the United States. However, since that time, the Canadian rate has been lower, with a gap of around 2.5 percentage points since late 2009.
  • In April, the adjusted unemployment rate in Canada was 6.4%, compared with 8.1% in the United States, for a gap of 1.7 percentage points. The gap has narrowed slightly in recent months, mainly as a result of a decline in the number of people actively searching for work in the United States.