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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