Issue 19-162 Labour Force Statistics

October 11, 2019

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 4.8% in September, down (‑0.2 points) from August but up (+0.6 points) from 12 months ago. Overall, the labour force decreased (‑12,800) and there were fewer jobs (‑8,400) in September. Both areas saw growth over the previous 12 months, with employment up by 33,400 and an additional 51,900 individuals joining the labour force.

In September, there were 8,800 more full-time jobs and 17,200 fewer part-time jobs. By age group, the full-time employment gains for those aged 25 to 54 (+24,200) offset the decrease in positions among those aged 15 to 24 (‑10,300) and 55 and over (‑5,100). On the other hand, there were increases in part-time jobs for those aged 55 and over (+1,900), while part-time employment declined for those aged 25 to 54 (‑13,200) and 15 to 24 (‑5,900).

Employment decreased in both the public (‑12,700) and private (‑3,200) sectors in September. The number of self-employed individuals grew (+7,500) compared to August.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.8%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was tied with Quebec for the lowest in Canada for the month of September. The next lowest unemployment rates were in Manitoba (5.0%), Ontario (5.3%), and Saskatchewan (5.3%). Alberta (6.6%) had the sixth lowest rate.

National Highlights

In Canada, employment increased by 53,700 positions in September, while the unemployment rate decreased to 5.5%. September’s unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 5.8%.


In September, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 3,700, while the size of the labour force grew (+1,000), as well. As a result, the unemployment rate for men was 3.8%, down from 4.0% in August.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 4,000 more jobs in September, while the labour force added 5,500 individuals. Consequently, the unemployment rate for women rose slightly to 4.5%, up from 4.4% in August.

Compared to September 2018, the unemployment rate for men was up 0.2 percentage points to 3.8%, while the rate for women increased 0.6 percentage points to 4.5%. Jobs for men increased by 33,100 (+2.9%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women rose by 10,000 (+1.0%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.0% in September, down from 9.4% the previous month. Total employment decreased by 16,200, while 19,200 individuals left the labour force. There were declines in full-time (‑10,300) and part-time (‑5,900) positions.

Compared to September 2018, the unemployment rate for youth was up 2.2 percentage points to 9.0%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In September, employment increased in Abbotsford-Mission (+1,100 or +1.1%) and areas outside the CMAs (+9,000 or +1.3%) from August. Vancouver (‑16,100 or ‑1.1%), Victoria (‑2,200 or ‑1.1%), and Kelowna (‑200 or ‑0.2%) posted decreases in employment from the previous month.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑3,100 or ‑0.6%) in September. The largest losses were in forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (‑2,400 or ‑5.5%), construction (‑1,400 or ‑0.6%), and utilities (‑1,000 or ‑8.0%). Manufacturing (+1,900 or +1.2%) was the only industry that added positions in September. In the twelve months to September, employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 22,400 (‑4.5%).

In September, overall employment for the services-producing sector (‑5,400 or ‑0.3%) decreased from the previous month. Among the service industries, transportation and warehousing (+6,100 or +4.6%) posted the largest increase, followed by finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+3,100 or +2.0%), accommodation and food services (+3,100 or +1.7%), and health care and social assistance (+2,400 or +0.8%). On the other hand, employment decreased for information, culture and recreation (‑15,000 or ‑10.8%), other services except public administration (‑4,900 or ‑4.0%), and professional, scientific and technical services (‑2,300 or ‑1.0%) in September. Since September 2018, the services-producing sector has added 55,700 (+2.8%) positions.

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