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

September 04, 2020

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that US non-farm payroll employment increased by 1.4 million from July to August 2020, following increases of larger magnitude in the previous three consecutive months.

The US unemployment rate has fallen 1.8 percentage points to 8.4 per cent. These improvements in the labor market reflected a continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 and efforts to contain it. In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census.

Employment fell by 22.2 million in March and April combined. Despite the monthly increase, nonfarm employment in August was 7.6 per cent (11.5 million) below its February level. The strongest employment increases occurred in government, retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services in August 2020.

The US unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 8.4 per cent in August. US unemployment decreased by 2.8 million to 13.6 million in August. Although unemployment decreased for four consecutive months, the US unemployment rate increased by 4.9 percentage points and the number of unemployed persons increased by 7.8 million since February 2020 due to COVID-19 and efforts to contain it.

The US participation rate decreased 0.3 percentage point to 61.7 per cent of the working age population in August but is 1.7 percentage points below its February level.

The US employment to population ratio was up by 1.4 percentage point to 56.5 per cent in August but 4.6 percentage points lower than its February level.

The reference week for the US household survey was August 9th through August 15th. 

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

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics news releaseCommissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation

Statistics Canada.  Table  14-10-0287-01   Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle

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