Issue 17-87: Labour Force Statistics

August 4, 2017

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.3% in July, up from 5.1% in June, but below the 5.6% it was 12 months ago.  Compared to June, the labour force was unchanged (+100), but there were fewer people employed (-5,100) while the number of unemployed went up (+5,200).  Over the past twelve months, job growth (+87,000) outpaced the growth in the labour force (+83,000).

Compared to June, there were 7,000 more full-time jobs, while the number of part-time jobs fell by 12,100.

In July, employment in the public sector rose (+7,400), while the number of jobs in the private sector went down (-24,500). The number of self-employed individuals increased (+12,100) during the same time period.

Provincial comparisons

At 5.3%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the second lowest in Canada during the month of July, behind Manitoba (5.0%). Quebec (5.8%) had the third lowest unemployment rate.  At 7.8%, Alberta’s unemployment rate was the fourth highest among the provinces.

National Highlights

During the month of July, employment in Canada was little changed (+10,900 or +0.1%), while the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 6.3% as fewer people searched for work. 


In July, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 1,500 jobs, while the labour force increased by 1,100. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.5%, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment contracted by 3,900 jobs. The labour force also decreased by 900, resulting in the unemployment rate rising to 5.1% (+0.3 percentage points).

Compared to July 2016, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.7 percentage points to 4.5%, and for women it was up by 0.4 percentage points to 5.1%. Jobs for men increased by 28,800 (+2.7%) compared to a year ago, and for women employment climbed by 31,500 (+3.2%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years rose to 8.2% in July. Employment decreased by 2,600 jobs while the labour force contracted by 200 people. All job gains for youth were in full-time employment (+2,800 jobs), with part-time employment (-5,400) declining. Compared to July 2016, the unemployment rate for youth decreased by 1.5 percentage points to 8.2%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In July, employment grew in Abbotsford (+900 or +1.0%), Kelowna (+500 or +0.5%), and areas outside the CMAs (+700 or -0.1%), and declined in Vancouver (‑5,000 or -0.4%) and Victoria (-2,200 or -1.2%).


In July, employment in the goods-producing sector was relatively unchanged (-2,600 or -0.5%) overall. There were employment losses in agriculture (-2,800 or -10.3%) and utilities (-800 or -6.2%). Employment grew for manufacturing (+1,500 or +0.8%), and was relatively unchanged for forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (-200 or -0.4%), and construction (-200 or -0.1%). Compared to July 2016, the goods-producing sector gained 29,200 (+6.2%) jobs.

Employment in the services-producing sector decreased by 2,400 (-0.1%) jobs in July. Industries posting gains included health care and social assistance (+2,700 or +0.9%) and information, culture and recreation (+1,300 or +0.9%). Business, building and other support services (-2,600 or -2.5%) and other services (-2,700 or -2.3%) accounted for the largest declines in the sector, followed by finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (-1,300 or -0.8%), public administration (-700 or -0.7%) and educational services (-1,100 or -0.7%). The services-produced sector expanded by 57,900 (+3.0%) jobs since July 2016.

Visit the Labour Market Statistics page on the BC Stats website.