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The Young and the Jobless

Jul 15, 2013
Pedro Antunes Pedro Antunes
Forecasting and Analysis
Alicia Macdonald

Senior Economist
National Forecast

Since October 2008 (the pre-recession employment peak) the Canadian economy has created about 574,000 jobs. But quite clearly from the chart, Canada’s youth are being left behind when it comes to job creation.

Even drilling down into the youth employment data, the gains have not been even. Total employment in the cohort representing youth aged 15 to 24 is down significantly. But breaking the data into 5 year ago cohorts shows that that employment for older youths (those aged 20-24) is up marginally since its pre-recession peak. For the youngest members of our labour force (those aged 15–19), employment is down by 230,000.

Image of a chart showing Post-Recession Job Gains Not Extending to Canada’s Youth

The data is troubling in both regards. The cohort representing those aged 20–24 includes the typical age in which someone finishes college or university. Stagnant job creation in this age group suggests that many recent graduates are unable to find work, never mind work in their field of study. While this obviously has a monetary impact on those affected it also means that these youth are not developing their careers.

Furthermore, it is leaving them in a position where the skills they developed during their post-secondary education could become forgotten or obsolete. For those in the youngest labour market age-cohort, the inability to find a job could mean reduced savings to finance post secondary and the loss of valuable pre-career work experience.

While Canadian youth have better job market prospects than their counterparts in many other parts of the world, it is important to be mindful of the current struggles faced by youth here at home.

This is the second part of our three-part series “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Looking at Canada’s Post-Recession Job Market.”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Looking at Canada’s Post-Recession Job Market

Canada has more than recouped all the jobs that were lost during the last recession. But the gains have not been shared evenly among industries, or even among demographic cohorts. The Conference Board is delving into the Labour Force Survey data to determine which industries have been driving job creation since the 2008–09 recession and which age groups have been the beneficiaries.

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