The employment rate corresponds to the percentage of the working-age population that is employed. It allows the interpretation of employment growth in relation to population growth. Employment growth that is greater than population growth can be indicative of an improvement in the state of the labour market. The employment rate increases (decreases) when employment growth is higher (lower) than working-age population growth.
In Canada, the employment rate, adjusted to U.S. concepts, declined during the 2008–2009 recession, falling from a historic high of 64.4%, in February 2008, to a cyclical low of 62.0% in July 2009 (Chart 2). The July 2009 employment rate was the lowest since March 2002.
Since then, the rate has changed little, and stood at 62.0% in June 2014. The stability of Canada’s employment rate since 2009 indicates that the rate of employment growth has not surpassed working-age population growth.
In the United States, the employment rate decreased from a cyclical high of 63.3%, in March 2007, to a low of 58.2%, in November 2010, the lowest employment rate observed since 1983. This decline in the employment rate was more significant than in the previous three recessions, and was more than double the corresponding decline in Canada. Subsequently, the employment rate in the United States did not change much. As in Canada, employment growth in the United States since 2010 was, therefore, similar to the growth of the working-age population.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Labour Market in Canada and the United States since the Last Recession.