Issue 17-102: Labour Force Statistics

September 8, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.1% in August, down from 5.3% in July and below the 5.5% it was 12 months ago. Compared to July, the labour force declined (-8,400), with the number of unemployed falling (-7,200), and a slight reduction in employment (-1,200). Over the past twelve months, job growth (+92,300) outpaced the growth in the labour force (+84,900).

Compared to July, there were 27,400 more part-time jobs, and 28,600 fewer full-time jobs. Full-time jobs decreased for both workers aged 15 to 24 years (‑14,400 or -7.3%) and 25 to 54 years of age (-13,700 or -1.0%). On the other hand, part-time employment grew mainly for those aged 25 to 54 years of age (+22,700 or +10.6%), compared to growth for those aged 15 to 24 years (+2,000 or +1.2%).

In August, employment in the public (-3,300) and private (-6,700) sectors diminished, while the number of self-employed individuals increased (+8,700).

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.1%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the second lowest in Canada during the month of August, behind Manitoba (4.9%). Ontario (5.7%) had the third lowest unemployment rate. At 8.1%, Alberta’s unemployment rate remained the fourth highest among the provinces.

National Highlights

During the month of August, employment in Canada was little changed (+22,000 or +0.1%), while the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%, matching the most recent low of October 2008, the month prior to the 2008-2009 downturn.


In August, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) added 7,000 jobs, while the labour force increased by 1,800. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.1%, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment grew by 4,100 jobs. The labour force contracted by 3,300, resulting in the unemployment rate dropping to 4.4% (‑0.7 percentage points).

Compared to August 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.7 percentage points to 4.1%, and for women it was down by 0.4 percentage points to 4.4%. Jobs for men increased by 45,100 (+4.2%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 38,900 (+4.0%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years rose to 9.8% in August, up 1.6 percentage points from the previous month. Employment decreased by 12,400 jobs and the labour force contracted by 6,900 people. All job losses for youth were in full-time employment (‑14,400 jobs), with part-time employment (+2,000) adding positions. Compared to August 2016, the unemployment rate for youth increased by 3.1 percentage points to 9.8%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In August, employment rose in Victoria (+6,500 or +3.4%), Kelowna (+1,000 or +1.0%), Abbotsford (+1,100 or +1.2%), and declined for Vancouver (-7,600 or ‑0.5%) and the areas outside the CMAs (-2,200 or ‑0.3%).


In August, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively unchanged (‑1,600 or ‑0.3%) overall. There were employment gains in agriculture (+2,900 or +11.8%) and utilities (+700 or +5.7%). Employment decreased for manufacturing (-2,500 or -1.4%), construction (‑1,700 or ‑0.7%), and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-1,000 or -2.0%). Compared to August 2016, the goods-producing sector gained 30,200 (+6.5%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector saw little change, adding 300 (+0.0%) jobs in August. Industries posting gains included professional, scientific and technical services (+6,000 or +3.0%), health care and social assistance (+5,100 or +1.7%), wholesale and retail trade (+5,100 or +1.4%), and educational services (+1,200 or +0.7%). Accommodation and food services accounted for the largest decline in the sector (-6,800 or -3.7%), followed by transportation and warehousing (‑3,400 or ‑2.4%) and information, culture and recreation (-3,300 or -2.3%). The services-producing sector expanded by 62,100 (+3.2%) jobs since August 2016.

Visit the Labour Market Statistics page for detailed data tables and other resources.