Youth unemployment is here to stay

Study: Why youth unemployment in Canada is even worse than we thought

Nicole Wray|

If they’re not being called lazy and entitled, they’re being made fun of for still living at home with mom and dad. But Canadian youth have it tough and it’s not getting any easier.

No longer can Canada’s high youth unemployment rate be blamed on the toll the employment market took during the 2008 recession. According to a recent report, “The Young and the Jobless,” youth unemployment is a chronic problem in Canada.

Atlantic provinces, Ontario have highest youth unemployment rate

Youth willing to do whatever it takes to find work could consider moving to a western province. Alberta is the best bet with a youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24) of just 8.1%, half that of Ontario’s youth unemployment rate, which ranged between 16-17.1% in 2013.

Some Ontario cities fared even worse than the Ontario average with youth unemployment rates of over 20% (similar to that of the European Union) in Windsor, Oshawa, Brantford and London. In Toronto, the youth unemployment rate is 18.1%.

At less than 10%, Saskatchewan has the second lowest youth unemployment rate, followed by Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec, each of which have a lower unemployment rate than the national average of 13.5-14.5% in 2013.

Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland each fared worse with youth unemployment rates higher than the national average.

A master’s degree in debt

Although it’s true that education improves youth employment rates, there’s one surprising exception. In Ontario, young people who have more than a bachelor’s degree have similar unemployment rates to those with a high school diploma.

At 17.1%, the unemployment rate for youth with more than a bachelor’s degree is close to the 16% unemployment rate for high school grads and significantly higher than the unemployment rate of those with a bachelor’s degree at 11.2%.

It’s scary statistics like this that are causing federal and provincial government to take action towards getting more of Canada’s well-educated youth working in meaningful jobs.

Whether that means making university programming more career oriented, encouraging private companies to hire or funding entrepreneurial ventures, as a 24-year old student, I’m breathing a sigh of relief that unemployment stats are finally stirring some action.

Read the full report.


Nicole Wray is a member of Generation Y and a regular contributor to Workopolis.
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Category: Latest News & Advice, Student
  • Marisa Baratta

    “Although it’s true that education improves youth employment rates, there’s one surprising exception. In Ontario, young people who have more than a bachelor’s degree have similar unemployment rates to those with a high school diploma.”

    Wow. Why do you think that is? Something to do with being in school longer while others may be out in the working world getting experience? Or something to do with money?

  • Ariel Shalom-Keshet

    I have a client who works at Starbucks in Toronto Financial District as a barista for many years, and their manager consistently hires foreigners on an 18 month visiting visa to Canada, most do not proficiently understand or speak English and this thus
    creates challenges for our local unemployed youth, yet Starbucks has
    establishments in 53 countries and continues this discriminating practice here?

  • Discus__user

    When i was a kid, back in the late 60’s, you could deliver papers or caddy at a golf course. I also had a job later in high school as a library Page at the local city library, as did a dozen or more high school kids I worked with.
    Other than McDonalds, what is there today?
    Then, the next question is – now what? When I got an education (which, BTW, I paid for as i went along from summer/evening jobs like security guard) you could walk out into the workforce and get a number of moderately good jobs in your field, be it teacher, computer programmer, engineer. The less fortunate, less educated could walk into Ford or GM and ask for a job, and they could typically be hired.
    Today? There’s nothing there. Satrting in the 90’s we saw that even teacher or engineer degree was no guarantee of a job. Companies have nickel-anddimed their “headcount”, turned everything into a term position with crappy pay, and even universities replace tenured professors with limited-term “lecturer” positions.
    baby boomers like me latched onto the good jobs, and only downsizing or old age will bump us out.

  • Sir_Sam

    Just a theory…major consumption and living beyond’s one’s means seems to be the norm among the established generations, personal debt is at record levels. I always hear this nonsense that the establishment needs to keep working because they can’t afford to retire. Perhaps if they stopped mortgaging 4000 sq ft houses with 2 or 3 car garages, driving $50,000 pickup trucks and SUV’s, buying big screen HD tv’s at $5000+ a pop and buying granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, blah blah blah, then maybe they could actually retire. It always amazes me that such a conceited and selfish lot could arise from the greatest generation, who lived through the Depression and WWII and lived with far, far less.

    Another wild idea – how about entry level jobs with on the job training and promotions through the years so at least we could get a foothold and actually be able to afford rent and living costs. Even when the stat’s support the fact that we’re at nearly 20% youth unemployment, it’s still our faults. I’ve had it with these ignorant conceited losers. Don’t expect me to carry your health costs later in life.

  • neehenrique

    Recently I was extremely low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – ktlb

  • turd man

    poo tastes like chicken