Mainland / Southwest

Latest numbers for this region in April 2019

4.5 %
5.5 %
5.5 %
4.4 %

Source: Monthly Labour Force Survey, 3-month moving average, seasonally unadjusted

Regional overview

The Mainland / Southwest economic region is located in the southwest corner of the B.C. mainland. It includes the Greater Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast, and stretches north to include Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet.

Regional district Key cities
Regional district Fraser Valley Key cities Chilliwack, Mission, Abbotsford
Regional district Greater Vancouver Key cities Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, Delta, Langley, North Vancouver
Regional district Squamish-Lillooet Key cities Squamish, Whistler
Regional district Sunshine Coast Key cities Gibsons, Sechelt

Age distribution

  • Age
  •    % by age for Mainland / Southwest
  •    % by age for B.C.
  • 0 - 14
  • 15 - 24
  • 25 - 54
  • 55 - 64
  • 65 - 90+

Source: 2017 Labour Force Survey

Unemployment rate

10-year unemployment rate in Mainland / Southwest compared to B.C. rate (2007-2017)

  British Columbia
4.3 %
7.7 %
Unemployment rate (2017):
5.1 %
10-year average:
6.2 %
  Mainland / Southwest
4.0 %
7.5 %
Unemployment rate (2017):
4.6 %
10-year average:
6.0 %

Source: 2017 Labour Force Survey

This region's industries and sectors

Industry Sector
Accommodation and Food Services Services
Agriculture and Fishing Goods
Business, Building and Other Support Services Services
Construction Goods
Educational Services Services
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Services
Forestry and Logging with Support Activities Goods
Health Care and Social Assistance Services
Information, Culture and Recreation Services
Manufacturing Goods
Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction Goods
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Services
Public Administration Services
Repair, Personal and Non-Profit Services Services
Retail Trade Services
Transportation and Warehousing Services
Utilities Goods
Wholesale Trade Services

Source: 2017 Labour Force Survey

Goods and Services sectors

Share of employment in Goods and Service sectors (2017)

  Goods         Services

Source: 2017 Labour Force Survey

The Mainland/Southwest region accounts for the largest percent of provincial employment.

Service sector

Vancouver is the financial and business capital of B.C. and is the location of head offices for many businesses that operate in the province, including financial institutions. This explains why this region accounts for 64 percent of all provincial employment in 2015.

Goods sector

Mainland/Southwest was home to approximately 58 percent of all Goods producing industry jobs (agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, fishing, hunting and trapping, utilities, construction and manufacturing).

Given its urban nature, the region has few resource-based operations and therefore only accounted for 24.2 percent of total forestry, mining, oil and gas, and fishing, hunting and trapping jobs. However, the region has a concentration of Construction employment due to the region’s busy housing market, as well as work on office buildings and major projects.

Employment outlook

  • 2018
  • 2023
  • 2028

Forecasted 10-year total employment growth:   588,500
Forecasted average annual employment growth rate:   1.2%

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Top 10 occupations

Job openings Employment
Top 10 occupations
Retail salespersons (NOC 6421)
Job openings
Employment growth
Retail and wholesale trade managers (NOC 0621)
Job openings
Employment growth
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)
Job openings
Employment growth
Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)
Job openings
Employment growth
Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
Job openings
Employment growth
Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711)
Job openings
Employment growth
General office support workers (NOC 1411)
Job openings
Employment growth
Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511)
Job openings
Employment growth
Financial auditors and accountants (NOC 1111)
Job openings
Employment growth
Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents (NOC 6733)
Job openings
Employment growth

View all top occupations
Top 10 industries Job openings Employment
Top 10 industries
Health Care and Social Assistance 95,900 2.0%
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 89,400 2.4%
Retail Trade 55,100 0.6%
Information, Culture and Recreation 47,800 1.8%
Transportation and Warehousing 46,100 1.5%
Construction 43,900 0.3%
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate 43,300 1.1%
Accommodation and Food Services 38,700 1.6%
Manufacturing 36,500 0.2%
Educational Services 35,700 0.7%