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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

August 02, 2019

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that US non-farm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in July.  Results for June were revised to show a smaller gain of 193,000.  July's employment gain was slower than the average pace of 188,000 per month set over the previous 12 months.

US employment gains in June were reported for the following sectors: professional and business services (+31,000), health care (+30,000), social assistance (+20,000), finance (+18,000) and manufacturing (+16,000, though this is not a significant change).  Mining employment declined 5,000.  Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.

The US unemployment rate was steady in July at 3.7 per cent. Unemployment rates across most advanced economies (including Canada and Nova Scotia) are at levels below long run averages.

The US participation rate increased to 63.0 per cent in July. 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.  Canada's participation rate has been increasing in recent months, but was unchanged at 65.7 per cent in June.

The US employment to population ratio edged up to 60.7 per cent in July. 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.  Since the summer of 2018, the national employment rate has re-established an upward trend.  In June, Canada's employment rate edged down to 62.1 per cent.  With an aging population and declining labour supply, Nova Scotia's employment rates trended down over the 2012 to 2016 period. Improvement since late 2017 and a sharp rise in recent months pushed Nova Scotia’s employment rate above 58 per cent, reported to be 58.1 per cent in June.

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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