Issue 17-91: B.C. Small Business Quarterly - Highlights

August 10, 2017

The number of small businesses in British Columbia (excluding self-employed persons) in December of 2016 was 188,057, up 1.9% from a year earlier.

New business incorporations climbed 11.0% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier. This was the sixth straight quarter with a double-digit year-over-year increase.

Consumer bankruptcies dropped 15.8% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier; however, there was a 10.0% rise in business bankruptcies.

There was a 1.3% rise in provincial employment between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. This was despite a 1.6% drop in the number of self-employed, as the count of employees rose 2.0%.

British Columbia’s unemployment rate averaged 5.4% in the first quarter, down 10.6% from the previous quarter.

The number of non-residential building permits issued in British Columbia fell 11.2% from the first quarter of 2016. This was the fourth consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline. However, residential building permits grew 8.2% in the first quarter.

Multiple Listing Statistics (MLS) sales plunged 34.7% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same three-month period a year earlier.

For the first time in two years, there was a decline in B.C.’s urban housing starts, dropping 18.4% year-over-year.

B.C.’s commodity exports fell 8.3% in the first quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Manufacturing sales also dropped, dipping 0.9% over the same period. Both wholesale (+1.0%) and retail (+2.7%) sales grew in the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter.

The complete Small Business Quarterly Report along with feature article is now available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats, Small Business Quarterly, First Quarter 2017