Issue 18-85 Labour Force Statistics

May 11, 2018

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.0% in April, up from 4.7% in March, but below the 5.4% from 12 months ago. The size of both the labour force (+11,000) and the number of employed (+2,900) grew since March. Compared to 12 months ago, job growth (+23,000) has outpaced the growth in the labour force (+13,900).

There were 18,200 more full-time jobs in April and 15,300 fewer part-time jobs compared to March. Most of the gains in full-time jobs were observed for the 25 to 54 (+7,700) and 15 to 24 (+6,600) age groups, while those aged 55 and over saw a smaller increase (+3,700). Part-time employment went down for the 25 to 54 (‑8,200) and the 15 to 24 (‑8,000) age groups, while those aged 55 and over had more part-time jobs (+1,000).

In April, employment in the public sector was up (+1,500), while there were fewer employees in the private sector (‑3,800). The number of self-employed individuals grew (+5,200) compared to March.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.0%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of April. Quebec had the second lowest unemployment rate (5.4%), followed by Ontario (5.6%), while Alberta’s unemployment rate (6.7%) was tied for sixth highest among the provinces.

National Highlights

Compared to the previous month, employment in Canada was virtually identical to March, while the unemployment rate was also unchanged at 5.8%. The unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 6.4%.


In April, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) added 1,100 jobs, while the labour force grew by 3,600. As a result, the unemployment rate was 4.5%, up from 4.3% for the previous month.

For women (aged 25 years and over), employment increased by 3,100 jobs in April. The labour force increased by 3,000, which resulted in the unemployment rate remaining at 4.3%.

Compared to April 2017, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.5 percentage points to 4.5%, and for women it was down 0.1 percentage points to 4.3%. Jobs for men increased by 27,800 (+2.5%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women grew by 9,200 (+0.9%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 8.7% in April, up 1.4 percentage points from the previous month. Total employment decreased by 1,300, while 4,400 individuals joined the labour force. The addition of 6,600 full-time positions could not offset the loss of 8,000 part-time jobs.

Compared to April 2017, the unemployment rate for youth was down 0.6 percentage points to 8.7%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In April, employment shrank in Vancouver (‑13,600 or ‑1.0%) and Abbotsford (‑1,200 or ‑1.3%). The areas outside the CMAs (+15,300 or +2.3%), and Kelowna (+2,200 or +2.1%) saw increases in employment from the previous month. Employment in Victoria was essentially unchanged (+200 or +0.1%).


Employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+4,000 or +0.8%) in April. Manufacturing (+3,000 or +1.7%) saw the largest increase, followed by agriculture (+2,200 or +9.7%) and utilities (+200 or +1.5%). On the other hand, construction (‑900 or ‑0.4%) and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑600 or ‑1.2%) lost positions. In the twelve months to April, the goods-producing sector added 22,400 (+4.6%) jobs.

In April, overall employment was down for the services-producing sector (‑1,100 or ‑0.1%) compared to the previous month. Within industries, finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (‑6,400 or ‑4.1%) posted the largest decrease, followed by business, building and other support services (‑4,200 or ‑4.1%) and wholesale and retail trade (‑2,300 or ‑0.6%). Conversely, professional, scientific and technical services (+5,900 or +2.9%) added positions, while employment for accommodation and food services (+5,000 or +2.8%) and transportation and warehousing (+3,900 or +3.0%) increased as well. Since April 2017, the services-producing sector has added 500 (+0.0%) positions.

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