Issue 18-141 Labour Force Survey

August 10, 2018

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.0% in July, down from 5.2% in June and below the 5.2% from 12 months ago. The labour force (+5,500) and the number of employed (+11,200) are up from June. Compared to 12 months ago, both employment (‑4,200) and the labour force (‑11,700) have declined.

There were 9,600 full-time jobs added in July, while there were 1,600 more part-time jobs. Full-time employment went up for persons aged 55 and older (+9,800) and 25 to 54 (+9,100), while there were fewer full-time jobs (‑9,300) for those aged 15 to 24. The gains in part-time jobs were observed for the 15 to 24 (+10,600) and 25 to 54 (+4,400) age groups, while there were part-time job losses (‑13,500) for those aged 55 and older.

In July, employment in the private sector was up (+2,000), while there were fewer employees in the public sector (‑2,000). The number of self-employed individuals increased (+11,200) compared to June.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.0%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of July. Ontario had the second lowest unemployment rate (5.4%), followed by Quebec (5.6%) and Manitoba (6.0%).

National Highlights

Compared to the previous month, employment in Canada increased by 54,100 in July, while the unemployment rate was down 0.2 percentage points to 5.8%. The unemployment rate was also down from one year ago, when it was 6.3%. Alberta (6.7%) had the fifth highest unemployment rate.


In July, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) added 1,000 jobs, while the labour force increased slightly (+100). As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.7%, down from 4.8% for the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment increased by 8,900 jobs in July. The labour force increased by 4,000, which resulted in the unemployment rate falling to 3.7% from 4.2% the previous month.

Compared to July 2017, the unemployment rate for men was up by 0.3 percentage points to 4.7%, and for women it was down 1.3 percentage points to 3.7%. Jobs for men increased by 1,500 (+0.1%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women increased by 16,200 (+1.6%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.4% in July, unchanged from the previous month. Total employment increased by 1,300, while 1,400 individuals joined the labour force. There were employment gains for part-time jobs (+10,600), while the number of full-time positions (‑9,300) decreased.

Compared to July 2017, the unemployment rate for youth was up 1.1 percentage points to 9.4%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In July, employment shrank in Vancouver (‑6,800 or ‑0.5%) and Abbotsford (‑400 or ‑0.4%). Conversely, Victoria (+3,800 or +1.9%), Kelowna (+2,300 or +2.3%), and the areas outside the CMAs (+12,300 or +1.8%) saw an increase in employment from the previous month.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑4,700 or ‑0.9%) in July. Most of the losses were felt by the manufacturing (‑3,000 or ‑1.7%) industry, while utilities (‑1,500 or ‑9.8%), forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑500 or ‑1.0%), and agriculture (‑200 or ‑0.9%) also saw decreases. There were job gains in the construction (+500 or +0.2%) industry. In the twelve months to July, the goods-producing sector shed 6,000 (‑1.2%) jobs.

In July, overall employment was up for the services-producing sector (+15,900 or +0.8%) compared to the previous month. Within industries, information, culture and recreation (+8,700 or +6.9%) posted the largest increase, followed by finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+3,900 or +2.7%), professional, scientific and technical services (+3,300 or +1.6%), and educational services (+2,900 or +1.8%). Conversely, transportation and warehousing (‑6,600 or ‑4.8%), accommodation and food services (‑3,600 or ‑1.9%), and other services (‑200 or ‑0.2%) all lost positions in July. Since July 2017, the services-producing sector has added 1,800 (+0.1%) positions.

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