Issue 17-105: Small Business Quarterly

September 14, 2017


There were 187,867 small businesses in British Columbia (excluding self-employed persons) in June of 2017, a 1.0% increase from a year earlier.

There was a 4.7% rise in incorporations of businesses in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier. In the same period, business bankruptcies fell 31.1%. Consumer bankruptcies also declined, down 9.7% from the second quarter of 2016.


Employment in B.C. continued to rise in the second quarter, up 1.5% from the first quarter of 2017. The number of self-employed increased slightly faster than overall employment, at 1.9%.

Despite climbing employment numbers, there was almost no change in British Columbia’s unemployment rate, which averaged 5.4% in the second quarter. This is because more people were participating in the labour force. The participation rate averaged 65.7% in the second quarter, a 1.1% hike from the first quarter.

Housing and Construction

There was a 14.5% jump in building permits issued in B.C. in the second quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier. Both residential (+10.3%) and non-residential (+26.9%) permits increased.

B.C.’s urban housing starts inched up 0.6% year-over-year, to 10,868 in the second quarter. This is the highest quarterly total since the third quarter of 1993.

There was an 11.8% drop in Multiple Listing Statistics (MLS) sales in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the same three-month period a year earlier.


B.C.’s commodity exports climbed 3.5% in the second quarter, compared to the previous quarter, while manufacturing sales grew 5.1% over the same period. Both wholesale (+2.0%) and retail (+4.1%) sales also registered growth from the first to second quarters.

Prices and Rates

B.C.’s inflation rate (as measured by the CPI) climbed 1.9% year-over-year in the second quarter, while the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) jumped 5.3% in the same period.

The complete Small Business Quarterly Report along with feature article “The Forest Sector Looms Large for Small Businesses in British Columbia” is now available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats