Issue 17-162: Labour Force Survey

December 1, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.8% in November, down 0.1 percentage points from October and below the 6.1% it was 12 months ago. Compared to the previous month, the labour force grew (+16,500), there was an increase in employment (+18,200) and a small drop in the number of unemployed (-1,700). In the twelve months to November, job growth (+92,000) outpaced the growth in the labour force (+61,500).

There were 4,100 more full-time and 14,200 additional part-time jobs in November when compared to October. After part-time employment fell for workers in all age groups in October, increases recovering some or all of the losses were posted in November: 15 to 24 (+4,600 or +2.8%), 25 to 54 (+3,800 or +1.8%), and 55 and over (+5,800 or +4.1%).

In November, employment in the public sector (+9,600) was up, as were the number of self-employed individuals (+6,900), while the private sector (-4,200) saw a decline in the number of jobs.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.8%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of November. Manitoba and Quebec were tied for second lowest at 5.4%, followed by Ontario (5.5%) and Saskatchewan (6.0%), while Alberta’s unemployment rate (7.3%) was fifth highest among the provinces.

National Highlights

Employment in Canada increased (+79,500 or +0.4%) during the month of November. The unemployment rate decreased from 6.3% to 5.9% during the same time period, and was down from one year ago when it was 6.8%.


In November, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 8,500 jobs, while the labour force increased by 8,800. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.4%, unchanged from the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), 5,100 jobs were added in November. The labour force saw an increase of 3,000, resulting in the unemployment rate dropping 0.2 percentage points to 4.1%.

Compared to November 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.2 percentage points to 4.4%, and for women it was down by 1.0 percentage points to 4.1%. Jobs for men increased by 32,100 (+3.0%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 32,200 (+3.3%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years dropped to 7.8% in November, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month. Employment increased by 4,700 jobs, while 4,700 more individuals joined the labour force. A large majority of the positions added were part-time (+4,600 jobs), with a small increase in full-time employment for youth (+100 jobs) as well. Compared to November 2016, the unemployment rate for youth declined by 2.7 percentage points to 7.8%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In November, employment grew in Vancouver (+15,900 or +1.1%) and in areas outside the CMAs (+5,000 or +0.7%). Victoria (‑1,100 or ‑0.6%), Kelowna (‑900 or ‑0.9%), and Abbotsford (‑700 or ‑0.8%) saw decreases in employment from the previous month.


In November, employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+7,300 or +1.5%) overall. There were employment gains in construction (+7,000 or +3.0%), as well as in agriculture (+800 or +3.0%) and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+700 or +1.5%). Conversely, manufacting employment contracted (‑1,500 or ‑0.8%). In the twelve months to November, the goods-producing sector added 25,500 (+5.3%) jobs.

In November there were 10,900 (+0.6%) more jobs in the services-producing sector over the previous month. Other services (+8,000 or +7.3%) saw the largest increase, followed by health care and social assistance (+3,900 or +1.3%), wholesale and retail trade (+3,500 or +0.9%) and educational services (+2,600 or +1.6%). Employment shrank in business, building and other support services (‑2,500 or ‑2.5%), public administration (‑2,500 or ‑2.5%), and accommodation and food services (‑2,400 or ‑1.3%). Since November 2016, the services-producing sector has added 66,500 (+3.5%) positions.

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