A Canada-U.S. Comparison of Employment and Wages

Workers aged 25 to 54 without a bachelor's degree

Release date: June 4, 2018
Infographic: A Canada-U.S. Comparison of Employment and Wages
Description: A Canada-U.S. Comparison of Employment and Wages

Employment rates evolved more favourably in Canada than in the United States from 2000 to 2017, largely because of differing trends among workers without a bachelor's degree. The majority of Canadians (66%) and Americans (63%) aged 25 to 54 did not hold at least a bachelor's degree in 2017.Footnote 1

Employment rates

Employment rate in 2017, persons aged 25 to 54 without a bachelor's degree
  Men Women
Canada 83.8% 75.2%
U.S. 81.8% 66.0%

Employment by industry

Men without a bachelor's degree in Canada working in...

  • 15% were employed in construction
  • 12% were employed in wholesale trade and retail trade
  • 13% were employed in manufacturing

Women without a bachelor's degree in Canada working in...

  • 23% were employed in educational, health care and social assistance services
  • 6% were employed in accommodation and food services
  • 12% were employed in wholesale trade and retail trade

Wages

Between 2000 and 2017, real wages increased in Canada but decreased in the United States.Footnote 2

Median hourly wage change
  Men Women
Canada 4.2% 9.3%
U.S. -5.5% 1.1%

In Canada, between 2000 and 2017, real wages for men and women without a bachelor's degree increased, led by growth in the Prairies.

In the United States, real wages of men and women without a bachelor's degree declined across most regions.

Real median hourly wage change between 2000 and 2017, workers aged 25 to 54 without a bachelor's degree
  Women Men
Canada
Atlantic Canada 21.2% 10.0%
Quebec 14.3% 7.9%
Ontario 1.9% 1.7%
Prairies 26.1% 22.6%
British Columbia 2.5% -1.2%
TOTAL 9.3% 4.2%
United States
New England -4.3% -4.7%
Middle Atlantic -3.6% -8.2%
East North Central -3.1% -9.7%
West North Central 1.5% -7.2%
South Atlantic -1.7% -5.1%
South Central 3.6% -1.7%
Mountain 3.4% -4.8%
Pacific -3.8% -6.4%
TOTAL 1.1% -5.5%

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey. More information can be found in the following article: Bernard A. and R. Morissette. Employment Rates and Wages of Core-Aged Workers in Canada and the United States, 2000 to 2017. Economic Insights, Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 11-626-X. Ottawa, Statistics Canada.

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