Issue 19-147 Labour Force Statistics

September 17, 2019

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.0% in August, up (+0.6 points) from July but down slightly (-0.1 points) from 12 months ago. Overall, the labour force increased (+7,500) and there were fewer jobs (‑8,300) in August. Both areas saw growth over the previous 12 months, with employment up by 73,800 and an additional 73,400 in the labour force.

In August, there were 1,100 fewer full-time jobs and 7,200 fewer part-time jobs. By age group, the full-time employment gains for those aged 15 to 24 (+8,800) were offset by fewer jobs among those aged 55 and over (‑6,000) and 25 to 54 (‑4,000). On the other hand, there were increases in part-time jobs for those aged 55 and over (+2,400), while part-time employment declined for those aged 15 to 24 (‑5,800) and 25 to 54 (‑3,800).

Employment increased in the public sector (+1,300), while the number of private sector (‑11,200) jobs declined in August. The number of self-employed individuals increased (+1,600) compared to July.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.0%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the second lowest in Canada for the month of August, behind Quebec (4.7%). The next lowest unemployment rates were in Saskatchewan (5.1%), Ontario (5.6%), and Manitoba (5.6%).

National Highlights

In Canada, employment increased by 81,100 positions in August, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.7%. August’s unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 6.0%.


In August, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) decreased by 4,900, while the size of the labour force increased (+3,600). As a result, the unemployment rate for men was 4.0%, up from 3.3% in July.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 6,400 fewer jobs in August, while the labour force decreased by 200. Consequently, the unemployment rate for women rose to 4.4%, up from 3.8% in July.

Compared to August 2018, the unemployment rate for men was down by 0.4 percentage points to 4.0%, while it remained unchanged for women at 4.4%. Jobs for men increased by 43,000 (+3.9%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women rose by 14,900 (+1.4%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.4% in August, up from 9.2% the previous month. Total employment increased by 3,000, while 4,100 individuals joined the labour force. There were gains in full-time (+8,800) positions but losses in part-time (‑5,800) jobs.

Compared to August 2018, the unemployment rate for youth was down 0.1 percentage points to 9.4%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In August, employment increased in Victoria (+4,400 or +2.3%), areas outside the CMAs (+2,300 or +0.3%), Abbotsford-Mission (+800 or +0.8%), and Kelowna (+600 or +0.6%) from July. Vancouver (‑16,400 or ‑1.1%) posted a decrease in employment from the previous month.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑1,400 or ‑0.3%) in August. The largest losses were in construction (‑4,300 or ‑1.8%) and manufacturing (‑1,600 or ‑1.0%). The agriculture (+2,200 or +8.8%), forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+1,300 or +3.1%), and utilities (+1,100 or +9.6%) industries saw increases. In the twelve months to August, employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 5,000 (‑1.0%).

In August, overall employment for the services-producing sector (‑7,000 or ‑0.3%) decreased from the previous month. Among the service industries, professional, scientific and technical services (+8,800 or +4.0%) posted the largest increase, followed by educational services (+3,300 or +1.8%) and public administration (+1,800 or +1.6%). On the other hand, employment decreased for health care and social assistance (‑8,600 or ‑2.7%), business, building and other support services (‑4,800 or ‑4.2%), finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (‑4,100 or ‑2.5%), and transportation and warehousing (‑3,200 or ‑2.3%) in August. Since August 2018, the services-producing sector has added 78,800 (+3.9%) positions.

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