Issue 20-129: Labour Force Survey

July 10, 2020

B.C. Highlights

The unemployment rate in British Columbia was 13.0% in June, down 0.4 percentage points from May and up 8.4 percentage points from 12 months ago.  In June, the labour force increased (+125,500) for the second month in a row, after substantial declines in March and April, while the number of jobs grew as well (+118,100). Both areas saw decreases compared to12 months ago, with employment down by 267,200 and 44,700 individuals not in the labour force mainly due to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June, there were 16,400 more full-time jobs and 101,700 more part-time jobs. By age group, full-time employment gains among those aged 25 to 54 (+30,900) and 15 to 24 (+5,000), offset the decrease in jobs for those aged 55 and over (‑19,500). There were part-time job gains for those aged 15 to 24 (+40,400), 25 to 54 (+33,300), and 55 and over (+28,000).

The vast majority of employment increases in June were in the private sector (+94,500), with employment also increasing in the public sector (+3,700). The number of self-employed individuals increased (+19,900) compared to May.

Provincial Comparisons

At 13.0%, British Columbia’s unemployment rate was the sixth lowest in Canada for the month of June. The lowest unemployment rates were in New Brunswick (9.9%), Manitoba (10.1%), and Quebec (10.7%). Alberta (15.5%) had the ninth lowest rate.

National Highlights

In Canada, employment increased with 952,900 more positions in June. The unemployment rate was 12.3%, down from 13.7% in May and up from 5.6% twelve months ago.


In June, employment in British Columbia for men (aged 25 years and over) increased by 33,700, while  27,900 men entered or re-entered the labour force. Accordingly, the unemployment rate for men was down from 10.0% in May to 9.3%.

For women (aged 25 years and over), there were 38,900 more jobs in June, while the labour force increased by 32,400 individuals. As a result, the unemployment rate for women was 11.4%, a decrease from 12.4% in May.

Compared to June 2019, the unemployment rate for men was up 5.7 percentage points to 9.3%, while the rate for women increased 7.6 percentage points to 11.4%. Jobs for men decreased by 87,500 (‑7.5%) from twelve months ago, while employment for women decreased by 97,300 (‑9.2%).

Youth Aged 15 to 24 Years

The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 years was 29.1% in June, up from 28.9% the previous month. Total employment increased by 45,400, while 65,300 individuals joined the labour force. There were increases in both part-time (+40,400) and full-time (+5,000) positions.

Compared to June 2019, the unemployment rate for youth was up 19.6 percentage points to 29.1%.

Summer Employment for Students

From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market outcomes about youths aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full-time in March and who intend to return to school full-time in September.

The June results provide a glimpse into the summer labour conditions—especially for older students (aged 20 to 24) attending post-secondary institutions. The data are unadjusted, making comparisons from one year to another appropriate.

The unemployment rate (unadjusted) for B.C. students aged 20 to 24 returning to school in the fall was 47.1%, up from 7.1% in June 2019. The rate of employment (unadjusted) among older students was 35.2%, down from 72.8% in June 2019.

Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

After several months of declining employment, there was an increase in positions in Vancouver (+67,600 or +5.6%) in June. Employment rose in the rest of the province as well, with the areas outside the CMAs (+31,700 or +5.2%), Victoria (+14,300 or +8.2%), Abbotsford-Mission (+3,400 or +3.8%), and Kelowna (+1,100 or +1.1%) all adding jobs.


Employment in the goods-producing sector was up (+3,100 or +0.7%) in June. Most of the job gains were in construction (+8,200 or +4.1%), followed by forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas (+1,200 or +3.2%) and utilities (+900 or +4.9%). Conversely, there were fewer jobs in manufacturing (‑6,800 or ‑4.4%) and agriculture (‑400 or ‑1.5%). In the twelve months to June, employment in the goods-producing sector declined by 48,800 (‑10.0%).

In June, overall employment for the services-producing sector increased (+115,000 or +6.6%) from the previous month. With more restaurants beginning to offer dining-in options, accommodation and food services (+54,800 or +57.4%) posted the largest increase, followed by professional, scientific and technical services (+17,600 or +8.1%), wholesale and retail trade (+16,100 or +4.7%), and health care and social assistance (+9,800 or +3.3%). There were fewer jobs in finance, insurance, real estate and renting (‑2,000 or ‑1.3%). On a year over year basis, the services-producing sector has 218,400 (‑10.5%) fewer positions.

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