Statistics Canada has released a study examining how labour market indicators have evolved for Canada’s youth (aged 15 to 24) since 1976. Today’s Owl looks at these youth employment trends both nationally and from an Alberta angle.
In recent years, national youth unemployment stood at levels comparable to those in the mid-1970s. The unemployment rate of youth in Canada—individuals aged 15 to 24—averaged 13.2 per cent in 2015, slightly higher than the rate of 12.4 per cent in 1976. In Alberta, youth unemployment has ticked about 3.5 per cent higher from 40 years ago. Last year, youth unemployment rate was 10.7 per cent, it was 7.3 per cent in 1976.
While the youth unemployment rate is somewhat comparable with levels observed during the mid-1970s, the degree to which young Canadians or young Albertans hold full-time jobs or permanent jobs has changed dramatically over the last four decades.
Compared to 1976, the number of full-time jobs held by young Albertans is down by about 17,000, on average. Meanwhile, the number of part-time workers has increased by nearly 70,000. It’s likely that the decline in youth full-time employment rates has been driven mainly by increases in the incidence of part-time employment rather than by decreases in youth labour force participation or increases in youth unemployment; this is good news.
The bad news is the unemployment rates for those aged 15 to 24 is too high. Moreover, the shift away from full-time work typically means more low-skilled, lower paying jobs for our youth. We could continue to see a greater shift towards part-time work for young Canadians, especially with the rise of the gig economy.*
*Courtesy of ATB Financial's Economics & Research Team, December 5, 2016