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

November 01, 2019

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that US non-farm payroll employment increased by 128,000 in October. Results for September and August were revised upward to show an additional gain of 95,000 jobs over these two months. US employment growth has slowed in 2019 and averaged 187,000 jobs per month over the previous twelve months.

US employment gains in the last month were notable in food services and drinking places (+48,000), social assistance (+20,000), and financial activities (+16,000). Professional services (+22,000) and health care (+15,000) employment continued upward trends. Manufacturing employment decreased by 36,000 due to a decline in motor vehicles and parts related to strike activity. Federal government employment was down 17,000 as 20,000 temporary workers completed preparation work related to the 2020 Census. Employment in other major industries - including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing and information - showed little changed over the month.


The US unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage points in October to 3.6 per cent. US unemployment continues to be at a historically low level. Unemployment rates across most advanced economies (including Canada and Nova Scotia) are at levels below long run averages.

The US participation rate was up 0.1 percentage points to 63.3 per cent in October. 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 and Nova Scotia participation rates have increase in 2019 compared to the end of2018.

The US employment to population ratio was unchanged at 61.0 per cent in October. 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. With an aging population and declining labour supply, Nova Scotia's employment rates trended down over the 2012 to 2016 period. Nova Scotia's employment rate was elevated in the first half of 2019 before falling in July.  In September, the Nova Scotia employment rate was 57.7 per cent.

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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