Issue 18-117 Small Business Quarterly

June 29, 2018

Businesses

There were 190,400 small businesses in British Columbia (excluding self-employed persons without paid help) in December of 2017, a 1.2% increase from a year earlier.

There was a 1.5% rise year-over-year in incorporations of businesses in the first quarter of 2018. In the same period, business bankruptcies fell by half (-50.0%) while consumer bankruptcies also dropped (-6.1%).

Employment

B.C.’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in the first quarter of 2018, slightly lower than the 4.8% observed in the last quarter of 2017.

Employment and the labour force remained virtually unchanged in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter. Self-employment fell in the first quarter of 2018, dropping 1.7% quarter-over-quarter. The participation rate averaged 65.0% in the first quarter, down from the 65.2% registered the prior quarter.

Housing and Construction

The value of building permits issued in B.C. jumped 10.3% in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier. Both residential (+6.6%) and non-residential (+21.1%) permits increased.

B.C.’s urban housing starts increased by 21.4%, while Multiple Listing Statistics (MLS) sales rose by 25.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2018.

Trade

B.C.’s commodity exports fell by 0.9% in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter, while manufacturing sales dropped 0.3% over the same period.

Although wholesales (+1.9%) grew in the first quarter of 2018, retail sales fell by 1.0%.

Prices and Rates

B.C.’s inflation rate (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) climbed 2.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of the year, while the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) grew by 2.3% in the same period.

The complete Small Business Quarterly Report along with feature article “Moonlighting in British Columbia” is now available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats