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

December 07, 2018

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that US non-farm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in November. Revisions to the last two months show a weaker gain of 237,000 in October while the September result was revised up to 119,000. November's employment increase was below the average of the previous 12 months that saw average monthly increases of 209,000.

US employment gains in November were reported for the following sectors: health care (+32,000), manufacturing (+27,000), transportation/warehousing (+25,000), and professional/business services (+32,000).  There was little change in the other major sectors of the economy: retail and wholesale trade, mining, construction, information, finance, leisure/hospitality, and government. 

The US unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 per cent in November. Unemployment rates across most advanced economies (including Canada and Nova Scotia) are declining to levels below long run averages. 

The US participation rate was unchanged at 62.9 per cent in November. Unlike unemployment rates, the US participation rate has failed to return to pre-recession levels and has only increased modestly since bottoming out in 2015, with fluctuations around a narrow range since the start of 2016. 

Participation rates in Canada and Nova Scotia also declined in the years after the global financial crises, with further declines since the beginning of 2018.

The US employment to population ratio was unchanged at 60.6 in November. The US employment rate has maintained a very gradual upward trend since the middle of 2013.  

Employment rates in Canada trended up in 2016 and 2017, but remained below levels observed in 2008.  In November the employment rate increased to 61.7 per cent in Canada.  With an aging population and declining labour supply, Nova Scotia's employment rates have trended down since 2012.  There has been some recovery in recent months, leaving the Nova Scotia employment rate steady at 57.1 per cent in November.

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

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Statistics Canada Table  14-10-0287-02

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