Participation rates, Canada and the United States

A higher proportion of Canadians than Americans are participating in the labour market

  • Since 2002, Canadians have been more likely than Americans to be participating in the labour market. By 2007, 67.7% of the Canadian population was either employed or searching for work, compared with 66.0% of the American population.

  • While labour market participation trended up in Canada from 1996 to 2003, a declining proportion of Americans have been participating in the labour market since 2001, after peaking at 67.1% from 1997 to 2000.

  • American men and women aged 16 to 54 showed declines in their respective participation rates from 2000 to 2007, but youths were hardest hit. In contrast, participation rates of Americans aged 55 and over showed an increase.

  • In 2007, Canadian youths were much more likely to be participating in the labour market (70.4%) than American youths (59.4%) and so were Canadian core-age women aged 25 to 54 (81.5%) than their American counterparts (75.4%). The participation rate of Americans aged 55 and over (38.6%), however, was well ahead of the rate of older Canadians (33.0%).

Chart P.4
Participation rates of people aged 16 and over, Canada and the United States, 1976 to 2007

Chart P.4 Participation rates of people aged 16 and over, Canada and the United States, 1976 to 2007

Note: Canadian data have been adjusted to approximate U.S. measurement concepts.
Sources: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.

Date modified: