Issue 18-185 Labour Force Statistics

November 2, 2018

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.1% in October, down 0.1 percentage points from September and down 0.8 percentage points from 12 months ago. The labour force (‑4,100) and the number of employed (‑1,100) also declined from the previous month. Compared to 12 months ago, both employment (+48,400) and the labour force (+30,900) have increased.

In October, 12,100 part-time jobs were added and full-time jobs declined by 13,300. Full-time employment went up for persons aged 55 years and over (+7,300), while there were fewer full-time jobs for those aged 25 to 54 (‑17,300) and 15 to 24 (‑3,100). Gains in part-time jobs were observed for persons 25 to 54 (+13,400) and 55 years and over (+1,300), while there were part-time job losses for those aged 15 to 24 (‑2,600).

In October, employment in the private sector held steady (‑200), while there were fewer employees in the public sector (‑7,400). The number of self-employed individuals increased (+6,500) compared to September.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.1%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of October. Quebec had the second lowest unemployment rate (5.2%), followed by Ontario (5.6%) and Manitoba (6.1%). Alberta (7.3%) had the third highest unemployment rate.

National Highlights

Employment in Canada increased by 11,200 from the previous month, while the unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage points to 5.8%. The unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 6.2%.


In October, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 8,100, while the labour force increased slightly (+500). As a result, the unemployment rate was 3.1%, down from 3.7% for the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 3,400 fewer jobs in October. The labour force grew by 2,100, which resulted in the unemployment rate rising to 4.4% from 3.9% the previous month.

Compared to October 2017, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.2 percentage points to 3.1%, and for women it was up 0.1 percentage points to 4.4%. Jobs for men increased by 29,700 (+2.7%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women increased by 24,300 (+2.4%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 6.7% in October, down from 6.8% the previous month. Total employment decreased by 5,800, while 6,700 individuals left the labour force. There were employment losses for full-time (‑3,100) and part-time (‑2,600) positions.

Compared to October 2017, the unemployment rate for youth was down 1.2 percentage points to 6.7%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In October, employment decreased in Vancouver (‑3,500 or ‑0.2%), Kelowna (‑1,200 or ‑1.2%), and Victoria (‑400 or ‑0.2%) compared to the previous month. Abbotsford (+1,200 or +1.2%), and the areas outside the CMAs (+2,800 or +0.4%) reported increases in employment from September.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑1,500 or ‑0.3%) in October. Most of the losses were felt by the manufacturing (‑2,300 or ‑1.3%) industry, while agriculture (‑1,100 or ‑4.5%) and construction (‑300 or ‑0.1%) also observed decreases. There were job gains in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+1,900 or +3.9%) and utilities (+200 or +1.4%) industries. In the twelve months to October, the goods-producing sector added 1,600 (+0.3%) jobs.

In October, overall employment was up slightly for the services-producing sector (+400 or +0.0%) compared to the previous month. Among the service industries, educational services (+5,100 or +3.1%) posted the largest increase, followed by wholesale and retail trade (+4,900 or +1.3%), professional, scientific and technical services (+2,100 or +1.0%), business, building and other support services (+2,000 or +2.1%) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+2,000 or +1.3%). On the other hand, employment declined in health care and social assistance (‑6,600 or ‑2.0%), accommodation and food services (‑4,900 or ‑2.5%), and public administration (‑4,400 or ‑4.1%) in October. Since October 2017, the services-producing sector has added 46,800 (+2.4%) positions.

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