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

January 06, 2023

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that US non-farm payroll employment increased 223,000 in December 2022. 

The US unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 3.5%. US employment has been above pre-COVID levels since August 2022, though the participation rate in the labour force remains lower.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The US participation rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 62.3%. At its lowest point in April 2020, the participation rate fell to 60.2%. Although the participation rate has recovered since then, it remains 1.0 percentage points lower than it was prior to the pandemic.

The US employment to population ratio increased 0.2 percentage points to 60.1%. The US employment rate has maintained a very gradual upward trend since the middle of 2013 and declined sharply in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Since reaching a low of 51.3% in April 2020, the US employment rate steadily increased before plateauing in early 2022.



The average US employment level increased by 5.9 million in 2022 to 153.7 million compared to an increase of 4.0 million in 2021. The unemployment rate averaged 3.6% in 2022 compared to 5.4% in 2021.

The participation rate was up 0.5 percentage points to 62.2% in 2022 compared to the previous year, while the US employment rate increased by 1.6 percentage points to 60.0% in 2022.


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


Sources: 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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