Unemployment rates, Canada and the United States

The unemployment rate gap between Canada and the United States continues to narrow

  • The Canadian unemployment rate (adjusted to the U.S. definition) has dropped in the last 14 years, from a high of 10.8% in 1993 to reach an all-time low of 5.3% in 2007. The U.S. unemployment rate, having reached a high of 7.5% in 1992, fell to a low of 4.0% in 2000 and then climbed to 6.0% in 2003. By 2007, it was at 4.6%.

  • These recent changes in unemployment rates have narrowed the gap between the two countries. The Canadian rate has been less than 1 percentage point above that of the U.S. rate for the last five years. The last time the gap was so small was in 1982.

  • The Canadian unemployment rate has been higher than the U.S. rate throughout most of the previous three decades. The gap widened in 1984 and 1985 and again from 1991 to 1999. During these periods, the Canada–U.S. unemployment rate gap ranged from 3 to 4 percentage points.

Chart P.3
Unemployment rates of people aged 16 and over, Canada and the United States, 1976 to 2007

Chart P.3  Unemployment 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.