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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Alexander Chute Economist
Tel: 902-424-5810Email:

September 01, 2017

US non-farm employment rose +156,000 in August 2017, slower than the revised 189,000 gain reported last month. Over the previous 12 months, employment increased by an average of +175,000 per month. 

Job gains occured in manufacturing (+36,000), construction (+28,000), professional and technical services (+22,000), health care (+20,000), mining (+7,000), and food services and drinking places (+9,000) in August.

The US unemployment rate was up slightly to 4.4 per cent in August.  Comparing the US with Canada and Nova Scotia, the NS unemployment rate for July was 7.9 per cent while Canada's was 6.3 per cent.  Although monthly unemployment rates are more variable in Nova Scotia (smaller sample size) the long run average of NS unemployment rates is typically higher than the US, except during the 2009 recession.  


The US employment rate inched down 0.1 percentage point to 60.1 per cent in August, though it has been trending upward since 2014.  This is higher than the NS July employment rate of 56.8 per cent, which has experienced some months of volatility over the last 12 months.  Canada's national employment rate has been on a rising trend since the middle of 2016, reaching 61.6 per cent in July. 

The US participation rate was unchanged in August at 62.9 per cent, with the civilian labour force up by 77,000. The NS participation rate in the labour force has been volatile in recent months, falling to 61.7 per cent in July.  Canada's labour force participation rates have been stable at just under 66 per cent since 2015.

Note: NS and US labour force statistics refer to different working-age cohorts.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Statistics Canada CANSIM table 282-0087

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