Ontario youth unemployment among the worst in Canada: report
A student walks to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ont., on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Nathan Denette)
Ontario is one of the toughest places in Canada for young people looking for work, with youth unemployment rates trending higher than the national average, a new study finds.
A new report that analyzes Statistics Canada employment data has found that five years after the global economic crisis, Ontario is now the worst province outside of Atlantic Canada for youth unemployment.
The report, released Friday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, finds the following:
The 2013 unemployment rate for Ontario youth between the ages of 15 and 24 ranged between 16 and 17.1 per cent, higher than the average Canadian range of 13.5 to 14.5 per cent.
In 2012, Ontario's youth unemployment rate of 16.9 per cent was among the worst in the Great Lakes region, rivalling Michigan and higher than rates in Quebec, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Ontario's monthly youth employment rate – a measure that determines how many young people actually have jobs – fluctuated between 50 to 52 per cent, meaning half of all Ontario youth don't have jobs.
Toronto's youth unemployment rate is 18.1 per cent and its employment rate is 43.5 per cent -- the worst of any region in the province.
Toronto has the widest gap between youth and adult employment in the province, with a difference of 21.8 per cent – the highest it's ever been.
Windsor, Oshawa, Brantford and London are youth unemployment "hotspots," with rates similar to those in the EU, hovering above 20 per cent.
- Youth employment rates in Sudbury, Waterloo and Hamilton are above the national rate.
The study argues that these statistics are not simply the byproduct of the 2008 global economic crisis, but instead come from a "strong structural component" within the province's labour market.
What's worse, the report says, there's no sign of these trends abating anytime soon.
"Ontario's youth joblessness problem isn't simply a post-recession hangover -- it's becoming chronic," study author Sean Geobey said in a statement.
"The joblessness trends suggest something new is at play: the labour market for young workers in Ontario is even more inhospitable than it was following the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s."
Geobey argues that while young workers in Ontario are subject to the same macroeconomic forces affecting the rest of the population, they are typically the first to be affected by any cuts or layoffs.
"Young workers are the labour market's canary in the coalmine," he writes.
The paper argues that Ontario's young workers have largely been affected by two economic changes over the past decade: a national economic shift away from the manufacturing sector towards resource extraction; and post-recession austerity measures that were adopted by the provincial government in the early 90s and following the 2008 crisis.
It notes that while Quebec has also suffered from the shift away from manufacturing, its government did not adopt as extreme austerity measures as Ontario did during the 90s and in 2008.
Quebec's 2012 youth unemployment rate of 13.7 per cent was considerably lower than Ontario's of 16.9 per cent.
While Quebec has implemented polices that have led to a shared burden of this past recession, Ontario has "chosen to allow the impact of the recession to rest squarely at the feet of its youth," Geobey said.
The report also examines some of the programs the Ontario government is planning to implement to fight youth unemployment.
In 2013 Ontario budget, the government announced a $295-million, two-year strategy to address youth job creation. The strategy includes partially subsidizing employers and employees to create temporary job placements and funding for young entrepreneurs.
The report says it is important that the subsidized job placements do not displace future permanent positions, and "simply encourage the phenomenon of precarious employment" in the province.
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