Ontario youth joblessness chronic problem: Report

Employment rate 43.5 per cent in Toronto, worst in province
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/30/2013

Ontario is becoming one of the toughest places in Canada for youth to land a job, according to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' Ontario office (CCPA Ontario).

Five years after the global economic meltdown, youth employment levels remain significantly depressed, tracking much lower than the national average, said The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario.

"Ontario's youth joblessness problem isn't simply a post-recession hangover — it's becoming chronic," said the report's author, Waterloo academic Sean Geobey. "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."

Among the report's key findings:

•In 2013, the unemployment rate for Ontario youth aged 15 to 24 fluctuated between 16 and 17.1 per cent, trending above the Canadian range of 13.5 to 14.5 per cent and placing Ontario as the worst province outside Atlantic Canada for high youth unemployment.

•The employment gap between youth and older workers in Ontario is now at an all-time high, with only one in two youth fortunate enough to be holding down a paying job.

Windsor, Oshawa, Brantford and London stand out as youth unemployment hotspots: Their youth unemployment rate is more than 20 per cent, similar to European Union rates.

Toronto's youth employment rate — the measure that determines how many youth actually have jobs — is 43.5 per cent. That's the worst employment rate of any Ontario region and may be driving some youth out of the province in search of work.

Toronto also has the largest gap between youth and adult employment in the province, at 21.8 per cent. That's the highest it's ever been.

"A thorough examination of the data indicates that youth joblessness in Ontario isn't just a byproduct of the 2008-09 recession — it is a chronic problem. And it's about to become the new normal if we don't start addressing it," said Trish Hennessy, director of the CCPA Ontario office.

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