Issue 19-192 Labour Force Survey

December 6, 2019

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.0% in November, up 0.3 percentage points from October and up 0.6 percentage points from 12 months ago. Overall in November, the labour force contracted (‑10,700) and there were fewer jobs (‑18,200). However, both areas saw growth over the previous 12 months, with employment up by 35,700 and an additional 18,100 individuals joining the labour force.

In November, there were 20,500 fewer full-time jobs and 2,300 more part-time jobs. By age group, there was full-time employment losses for those aged 55 and over (‑11,800), 25 to 54 (‑4,500), and 15 to 24 (‑4,300). On the other hand, there were increases in part-time jobs for those aged 55 and over (+2,600) and 25 to 54 (+1,700), while part-time employment decreased for those aged 15 to 24 (‑2,100).

A large majority of the employment losses were in the private sector (‑25,800), offsetting the gains of the previous month (+20,900). The public sector (‑1,900) decreased as well in November. The number of self-employed individuals grew (+9,400) compared to October.

Provincial Comparisons

At 5.0%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada for the month of November. The next lowest unemployment rates were in Quebec (5.6%), Ontario (5.6%), and Manitoba (5.6%). Alberta (7.2%) had the sixth lowest rate.

National Highlights

In Canada, employment decreased with 71,200 fewer positions in November. The unemployment rate was up from 5.5% in October to 5.9% in November, and up from one year ago, when it was 5.6%.


In November, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) decreased by 2,300, while the size of the labour force grew (+3,500). As a result, the unemployment rate for men was 4.4%, up from 3.9% in October.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 9,600 fewer jobs in November, while the labour force contracted by 8,900 individuals. Accordingly, the unemployment rate for women increased to 4.2%, up slightly from 4.1% in October.

Compared to November 2018, the unemployment rate for men was up 1.0 percentage point to 4.4%, while the rate for women decreased 0.3 percentage points to 4.2%. Jobs for men increased by 25,300 (+2.2%) compared to a year ago, while employment for women decreased by 3,800 (‑0.4%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.5% in November, up from 9.1% the previous month. Total employment decreased by 6,400, while 5,300 individuals left the labour force. There were decreases in both full-time positions (‑4,300) and part-time positions (‑2,100).

Compared to November 2018, the unemployment rate for youth was up 1.9 percentage points to 9.5%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In November, Victoria (+5,500 or +2.8%) and Abbotsford-Mission (+1,200 or +1.2%) were the only areas that saw employment increase from October. The areas outside the CMAs (‑20,900 or ‑3.0%) and Kelowna (‑3,900 or ‑3.7%) saw decreases in employment from the previous month, while Vancouver (‑100 or ‑0.0%) employment was steady.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was down (‑4,800 or ‑1.0%) in November. Losses in construction (‑3,000 or ‑1.3%), manufacturing (‑2,500 or ‑1.5%), and agriculture (‑100 or ‑0.4%) offset gains in the utilities (+800 or +7.3%) industry. The forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas industry saw no change. In the twelve months to November, employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 31,400 (‑6.2%).

In November, overall employment for the services-producing sector (‑13,400 or ‑0.6%) decreased from the previous month. Among the service industries, accommodation and food services (‑5,800 or ‑2.9%) posted the largest decrease, followed by wholesale and retail trade (‑4,600 or ‑1.2%), health care and social assistance (‑3,400 or ‑1.1%), transportation and warehousing (‑3,100 or ‑2.2%), and information, culture and recreation (‑2,200 or ‑1.8%). On the other hand, employment increased for finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+6,200 or +3.8%) and business, building and other support services (+2,000 or +1.9%), while remaining steady for other services except public administration (+100 or +0.1%) and professional, scientific and technical services (+0 or +0.0%) in November. On a year over year basis, the services-producing sector has added 49,500 (+2.4%) positions.

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