employment by industry

Source: Environics Analytics, Nanaimo Economic Development

The graph above shows employment by industry sector in the City of Nanaimo. Service industries account for much of Nanaimo’s employment base. The greatest number of jobs are provided by the retail sector followed by healthcare, accommodation/food services, construction and educational services. Nanaimo serves as a regional business and service centre for much of mid Vancouver Island.

employment by occupation

Source: Environics Analytics, Nanaimo Economic Development

The graph above shows the number of people employed in various occupations in Nanaimo. Sales and service jobs account for nearly 27% of Nanaimo’s employment base. These occupations include sales people in retail, real estate, food & beverage, and accommodation services. Trades & transportation related jobs are the second highest concentration. Business, finance, and administration occupations include business and financial professionals and support staff such as secretaries and clerks.


labour force participation rate

Source: Stats Canada

Nanaimo’s labour force participation rate has been increasing in recent years. Labour force participation rate represents the ratio between those in the labour force and the total population that is of working age.  Regions with younger populations tend to have higher labour force participation rates while those with an older population have lower rates. Participation rates also tend to fall during recessions and rise during expansions.

 Nanaimo’s labour force participation rate for 2018 was 64.9%, tied with BC  and slightly lower than Canada’s rate at 65.4%.   

unemployment  rate

Source: Stats Canada

The labour force is composed of those 15 years of age and older who are either employed or actively seeking work. Changes in the labour force are the result of changes in population and economic opportunities. A growing economy attracts workers from other areas and induces people to enter the labour force. When the economy slows, people leave in search of opportunities elsewhere or withdraw from the labour force.

 Historically Nanaimo’s unemployment rate has been below BC and the Canadian average.  In the past three years Nanaimo’s unemployment rate has been higher than BC’s but lower than the national rate.