Issue 19-129 Labour Force Statistics

August 9, 2019

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.4% in July, down slightly (-0.1 points) from June but a larger decline (-0.5 points) from 12 months ago. Overall, the labour force contracted (‑8,500) and there were fewer jobs (‑4,800) in July. However, both areas saw growth over the previous 12 months, with employment up by 93,500 and an additional 83,600 in the labour force.

In July, 8,100 part-time jobs were added, while 12,900 full-time jobs were lost. By age group, the full-time employment gains for those aged 55 and over (+4,700) were offset by fewer jobs among those 25 to 54 (‑12,300) and 15 to 24 (‑5,300). On the other hand, there were increases in part-time jobs for those aged 25 to 54 (+8,700) and 15 to 24 (+5,800), while part-time employment declined for those aged 55 years and over (‑6,400).

Employment increased in the public sector (+9,200), while the number of private sector (‑9,400) jobs declined in July. The number of self-employed individuals decreased (‑4,600) compared to June.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.4%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada for the month of July. Quebec had the second lowest unemployment rate (4.9%), followed by Saskatchewan (5.4%), Ontario (5.7%), and Manitoba (5.8%).

National Highlights

In Canada, employment was down slightly by 24,200 positions in July, while the unemployment rate moved up 0.2 percentage points to 5.7%. On the other hand, July’s unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 5.9%.


In July, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 800, while the size of the labour force contracted (‑2,400). As a result, the unemployment rate for men was 3.3%, down from 3.6% in June.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 6,000 fewer jobs in July, while the labour force decreased by 5,200. Consequently, the unemployment rate for women remained at 3.8%, unchanged from the previous month.

Compared to July 2018, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.2 percentage points to 3.3%, while it remained unchanged for women at 3.8%. Jobs for men increased by 51,700 (+4.7%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women rose by 25,800 (+2.5%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.2% in July, down from 9.5% the previous month. Total employment increased by 500, while 900 individuals left the labour force. There were gains in part-time (+5,800) positions but losses in full-time (‑5,300) jobs.

Compared to July 2018, the unemployment rate for youth was unchanged at 9.2%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In July, employment increased in Kelowna (+2,500 or +2.4%) and Victoria (+500 or +0.3%) from the previous month. Vancouver (‑5,600 or ‑0.4%), Abbotsford-Mission (‑1,600 or ‑1.6%), and areas outside the CMAs (‑600 or ‑0.1%) posted a decrease in employment from June.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑7,000 or ‑1.4%) in July. The largest losses were in manufacturing (‑4,200 or ‑2.5%) and forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑2,500 or ‑5.6%). The construction (+900 or +0.4%) and agriculture (+300 or +1.2%) industries saw increases. In the twelve months to July, employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 8,900 (‑1.8%).

In July, overall employment for the services-producing sector (+2,400 or +0.1%) increased from the previous month. Among the service industries, educational services (+10,900 or +6.3%) posted the largest increase, followed by accommodation and food services (+5,300 or +2.9%) and other services, except public administration (+3,200 or +2.7%). On the other hand, employment decreased for professional, scientific and technical services (‑4,600 or ‑2.1%), transportation and warehousing (‑4,500 or ‑3.2%), and health care and social assistance (‑2,800 or ‑0.9%) in July. Since July 2018, the services-producing sector has added 102,500 (+5.2%) positions.

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