Issue 18-207 Labour Force Statistics

December 7, 2018

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.4% in November, up 0.3 percentage points from October and down 0.4 percentage points from 12 months ago. The labour force (+24,500) and employment (+15,900) increased from October. They also grew over the previous 12 months, with both employment (+42,500) and the labour force (+33,300) expanding.

In November, 33,400 part-time jobs were added and full-time jobs declined by 17,500. There were fewer full-time jobs for those aged 25 to 54 (‑9,800), 55 years and over (‑5,000), and 15 to 24 (‑2,900). Gains in part-time jobs were observed for persons 55 years and over (+15,200), 25 to 54 (+14,900), and 15 to 24 (+3,400).

In November, employment increased in the private (+1,400) and public (+1,600) sectors. The number of self-employed individuals grew (+12,900) compared to October.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.4%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of November. Quebec had the second lowest unemployment rate (5.4%), followed by Saskatchewan (5.5%) and Ontario (5.6%). Alberta (6.3%) had the fifth highest unemployment rate.

National Highlights

In Canada, employment increased by 94,100 from the previous month, while the unemployment rate was down 0.2 percentage points to 5.6%. The unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 5.9%.


In November, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) grew by 1,500, while the labour force increased as well (+4,900). As a result, the unemployment rate was 3.4%, up from 3.1% for the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 13,800 more jobs in November. The labour force grew by 16,400, which resulted in the unemployment rate rising to 4.5% from 4.4% the previous month.

Compared to November 2017, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.0 percentage points to 3.4%, and for women it was up 0.4 percentage points to 4.5%. Jobs for men increased by 24,000 (+2.2%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women increased by 31,800 (+3.1%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 7.3% in November, up from 6.7% the previous month. Total employment increased by 600, while 3,000 individuals joined the labour force. There were employment losses for full-time (‑2,900), while part-time (+3,400) positions increased.

Compared to November 2017, the unemployment rate for youth was down 0.6 percentage points to 7.3%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In November, employment increased in Vancouver (+21,200 or +1.5%) and Kelowna (+2,200 or +2.2%) compared to the previous month. Victoria (‑4,600 or ‑2.4%), Abbotsford (‑1,000 or ‑1.0%), and the areas outside the CMAs (‑1,900 or ‑0.3%) reported decreases in employment from October.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+5,800 or +1.2%) in November. Most of the gains were in the construction (+5,000 or +2.1%) and agriculture (+3,300 or +14.2%) industries, with utilities (+600 or +4.2%) also adding positions. There were fewer jobs in the manufacturing (‑2,300 or ‑1.3%) and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑900 or ‑1.8%) industries. In the twelve months to November, the goods-producing sector added 800 (+0.2%) jobs.

In November, overall employment was up for the services-producing sector (+10,100 or +0.5%) compared to the previous month. Among the service industries, business, building and other support services (+7,200 or +7.3%) posted the largest increase, followed by information, culture, and recreation (+3,900 or +3.1%), health care and social assistance (+3,400 or +1.0%), and wholesale and retail trade (+3,000 or +0.8%). On the other hand, employment declined in educational services (‑3,800 or ‑2.2%), professional, scientific, and technical services (‑3,600 or ‑1.7%), and other services outside of public administration (‑2,300 or ‑1.9%) in November. Since November 2017, the services-producing sector has added 41,700 (+2.1%) positions.

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