Issue 17-170: Small Business Quarterly

December 11, 2017


There were 187,847 small businesses in British Columbia (excluding self-employed persons) in June of 2017, a 1.0% increase from a year earlier.

There was a 3.8% rise year-over-year in incorporations of businesses in the third quarter of 2017. In the same period, business bankruptcies fell 26.7% while consumer bankruptcies also declined by 14.2%.


B.C.’s unemployment rate was 5.1% in the third quarter of 2017, lower than the 5.4% observed in the second quarter. 

The decline in the unemployment rate was due to an increase in employment of 0.4% in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter as the size of the labour force remained essentially unchanged. Self‑employment also grew in the third quarter of 2017, rising 5.2% quarter-over-quarter. The participation rate averaged 65.5% in the third quarter, down from the 65.7% registered the prior quarter.

Housing and Construction

The value of building permits issued in B.C. jumped 28.7% in the third quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier. Both residential (+30.7%) and non-residential (+23.1%) permits increased.

B.C.’s urban housing starts remained virtually unchanged, while Multiple Listing Statistics (MLS) sales rose by 14.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2017.


B.C.’s commodity exports fell 6.2% in the third quarter, compared to the previous quarter, while manufacturing sales grew 0.9% over the same period. Both wholesale (+4.1%) and retail (+1.6%) sales also registered growth from the second to third quarters.

Prices and Rates

B.C.’s inflation rate (as measured by the CPI) climbed 2.0% year-over-year in the third quarter, while the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) grew by 1.8% in the same period.

The complete Small Business Quarterly Report along with feature article “A Profile of the Food Services and Drinking Places Industry in British Columbia” is now available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats