Economic Outlook for BC – 2018 Summer Edition

Last week Statistics Canada released their latest data on the job market across the country and in British Columbia.  While the BC unemployment rate is still the best in Canada, the gap is narrowing and the latest numbers show that the number of people looking for work in BC jumped last month.

Here are some findings from latest economic reports:

  • The jobless rate in British Columbia climbed to 5.2 per cent in June up from 4.8 per cent the month earlier
  • While the economy added 31,800 jobs in June, the National unemployment rate rose to 6.0%.
    • Again BC’s unemployment rate is the lowest at 5.2%
  • Overall employment was up +1.2% Year-over-Year in June
  • As expected with students entering the workforce, youth employment increased to 11.7% in June up from 11.1% in May.
  • Canada added 9,100 full-time jobs in June and 22,700 part-time positions, while work in the less-desirable category of self-employment rose by 22,000. Source: ca
  • Key geographic areas in BC all saw increases in unemployment with Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna all seeing increases.
  • The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. last month fell for the first time after four straight months of increases. The rate dropped from 7.9% in May to 7.0% in June.
  • The highest unemployment rate in B.C last month was recorded in the North Coast-Nechako region, where 7.3 percent of the labour force lacked a job.








To see the labour force characteristics by province visit this report on

StatsCan said that the cause of the increase in the unemployment rate was due to the fact that nearly 76,000 more people entered the workforce last month according to the Canadian Press.  So while there were nearly 32, 000 more jobs in June, more people were entering the workforce.

Unemployment in the Okanagan jumped from 5% in May to 5.6% in June.  Some of this can be attributed to the fact that more people joined the job market as students and graduates entered the workforce.

Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of BC says that the economic outlook projects stable growth for BC.  It will be consistent but not robust says Finlayson.  According to this post from the Kelowna Capital News, “While clean and environmentally-friendly technology may be the growth sector of the future,” Finlayson said, “green-thinking politicians in Ottawa and Victoria are losing sight of the importance resource-based industries play in our current economic fortunes.” Finlayson also states that “half of our exports come from resource-based industries. In B.C., that mark rises to 75 per cent. Add in the 20 per cent from the automotive manufacturing sector and that makes up 70 per cent of Canada’s exports, while clean environment technology exports amount to 3.7 per cent, yet that is where politicians in Ottawa spend all of their attention.”

So while unemployment rates jumped in the Okanagan in June, we can expect this trend to continue for another month before rebounding later in Q3.  Overall, the BC unemployment rate is still lowest in Canada at 5.2%.

Looking for work in Kelowna or the Okanagan? Contact us today to set up a consultation.  Speak with one of our experienced HR consultants and let us work with you in finding your new employment opportunities today!