Issue 17-142 Labour Force Survey

November 3, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.9% in October, unchanged from September and below the 6.1% it was 12 months ago. Compared to September, the labour force shrank (-5,500), with a decrease in employment (-6,100) and little change in the number of unemployed (+700). Over the past twelve months, job growth (+64,200) outpaced the growth in the labour force (+34,400).

Compared to September, there were 11,000 more full-time jobs, and 17,200 fewer part-time jobs in October. Part-time employment fell for workers in all age groups: 15 to 24 (-5,800 or -3.4%), 25 to 54 (‑6,300 or ‑2.8%), and 55 and over (‑5,200 or ‑3.6%). Full-time jobs increased for those aged 15 to 24 years (+7,700 or +4.2%) and for the 55 years and over age group (+8,500 or +2.2%), but dropped for those aged 25 to 54 years (-5,100 or -0.4%).

In October, both the public sector (-1,600) and the private sector (‑5,200) saw a decline in the number of jobs, while the number of self-employed individuals rose (+700).

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.9%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of October. Manitoba had the second lowest unemployment rate (5.2%), followed by Ontario (5.9%), while Alberta’s unemployment rate (7.8%) was tied for fourth highest among the provinces.

National Highlights

Employment in Canada increased (+35,300 or +0.2%) during the month of October. The unemployment rate increased from 6.2% to 6.3% during the same time period, but was down from one year ago when it was 7.0%.


In October, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) dropped by 5,000 jobs, while the labour force decreased by 7,400. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.4%, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment shrank by 3,100 jobs. The labour force contracted by 3,600, resulting in the unemployment rate dropping 0.1 percentage points to 4.3%.

Compared to October 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.4 percentage points to 4.4%, and for women it was down by 0.8 percentage points to 4.3%. Jobs for men increased by 22,800 (+2.1%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 25,900 (+2.6%).

Youths Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years rose to 8.0% in October, up 0.9 percentage points from the previous month. Employment increased by 1,900 jobs, while 5,500 more individuals joined the labour force. An increase in full-time employment for youth (+7,700 jobs) offset a reduction in part-time positions (‑5,800). Compared to October 2016, the unemployment rate for youth declined by 2.0 percentage points to 8.0%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In October, employment fell in Vancouver (‑3,800 or ‑0.3%), areas outside the CMAs (‑2,700 or -0.4%), Abbotsford (-600 or -0.6%), and Victoria (-200 or -0.1%). Kelowna saw an increase in employment (+1,200 or +1.2%) from the previous month.


In October, employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+6,600 or +1.3%) overall. There were employment gains in construction (+5,800 or +2.6%), agriculture (+2,400 or +10.0%), and manufacturing (+1,200 or +0.7%), while there were employment losses for forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑2,800 or ‑5.6%). Compared to October 2016, the goods-producing sector added 24,400 (+5.2%) jobs.

There were 12,800 (‑0.6%) fewer jobs in the services-producing sector in October. Wholesale and retail trade saw the largest decline (‑3,400 or ‑0.9%), followed by professional, scientific and technical services (‑2,900 or ‑1.4%), accommodation and food services (‑2,300 or ‑1.3%), and other services (‑2,000 or ‑1.8%). Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+2,400 or +1.5%), and business, building and other support services (+500 or +0.5%) were the only industries to see growth. Since October 2016, the services-producing sector has added 39,900 (+2.1%) positions.

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