Issue 19-80 Labour Force Statistics

May 10, 2019

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia (for those aged 15 years and over) was 4.6% in April, down 0.1 percentage points from March and down 0.5 percentage points from 12 months ago. Both the labour force (+3,500) and the number of jobs (+5,900) increased from March. Both areas also saw growth over the previous 12 months, with employment up by 82,100 and the labour force adding 73,100 participants.

In April, 29,900 full-time jobs were added, while part-time jobs declined by 24,000. By age group, most of the full-time employment gains were for those aged 25 to 54 (+26,800). There were gains in part-time jobs for those aged 15 to 24 (+9,100), while part-time employment declined for those aged 25 to 54 (-24,100) and 55 years and over (-9,100).

In April, employment increased in the private (+19,900) and public (+5,000) sectors. The number of self-employed individuals decreased (-19,100) compared to March.

Provincial Comparisons

At 4.6%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the lowest in Canada during the month of April. Quebec had the second lowest unemployment rate (4.9%), followed by Manitoba (5.2%), Saskatchewan (5.4%), Ontario (6.0%), and Alberta (6.7%).

National Highlights

In Canada, employment increased by 106,500 from the previous month, while the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.7%. The unemployment rate was down from one year ago, when it was 5.9%.


In April, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) fell by 3,600, while the size of the labour force decreased as well (-1,400). As a result, the unemployment rate for men was 3.6%, up from 3.5% in March.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 1,100 fewer jobs in April while the labour force shrank by 3,000. As a result, the unemployment rate for women declined by 0.1 percentage points to 4.0.

Compared to April 2018, the unemployment rate for men was down by 1.0 percentage points to 3.6%, and for women it decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 4.0%. Jobs for men increased by 31,900 (+2.9%) compared to a year ago, and employment for women rose by 31,300 (+3.1%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 9.1% in April, down from 10.0% the previous month. Total employment increased by 10,600, while 7,900 individuals joined the labour force. There were gains in full-time (+1,300) and part-time (+9,100) positions.

Compared to April 2018, the unemployment rate for youth was up 0.3 percentage points to 9.1%.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

In April, employment increased in Victoria (+4,300 or +2.3%), Abbotsford-Mission (+2,300 or +2.3%), Kelowna (+1,200 or +1.1%), and areas outside the CMAs (+600 or +0.1%) from the previous month. Vancouver (-2,500 or ‑0.2%) posted a decrease in employment from March.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+9,900 or +2.0%) in April. Most of the gains were in construction (+7,900 or +3.4%). There were fewer jobs in agriculture (-900 or -3.3%). In the twelve months to April, the goods-producing sector lost 8,700 (‑1.7%) jobs.

In April, overall employment for the services-producing sector (-4,000 or -0.2%) decreased from the previous month. Among the service industries, health care and social assistance (-5,300 or -1.7%) posted the largest decrease, followed by wholesale and retail trade (-3,400 or -0.9%), and transportation and warehousing (-1,900 or -1.3%). On the other hand, employment increased for business, building and other support services (+3,500 or 3.1%), other services (+2,500 or +2.1%), and public administration (+1,900 or +1.7%) in April. Since April 2018, the services-producing sector has added 90,800 (+4.6%) positions.

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