ROGER SAUVÉ – Life Trends – Facts And Figures That Matter to You – For Canada’s youth … this is a depression – Summerstown ON – March 22, 2010

ROGER SAUVÉ – Life Trends – Facts And Figures That Matter to You – For Canada’s youth … this is a depression

This is one depressing story but it must be told.

We like to talk about how Canada’s youth are our future. If we truly believe this, it sure doesn’t show up in the job numbers.

Youth, the group 15-24 years of age, represent only 15% of Canada’s total population. Based on this number, we might expect youth to share in the bad times in line with their share of the total population. They don’t. They are suffering much, much, more.

Last year, Canada lost about 277,000 jobs across all age groups. This was clearly a recession under by any measure.

The number of jobs lost by those aged 15-24 was 177,000 jobs or almost two-thirds of the total jobs decline. This is a decline of 6.8% in the number of jobs among youth compared to a loss of “only” 0.7% among everyone else. In percentage terms, the job decline among youth was almost 10 times more severe than among the rest of the work force. This is an unfair burden on young people. It is awful.

For youth, the last year has not been a recession … it has been a depression. The latest readings for February 2010 reveal that jobs for youth are still going down from a year ago and unemployment is still going up.

Students have been hit especially hard. In July of last year, about 21% of students who were planning to return to school and who wanted to work could not find a job. This is the highest rate of unemployment in three decades for this group. The percentage with jobs in July was the lowest in three decades. The percentage holding down jobs during the school year also dropped sharply. They are not lazy … the jobs are just not there.

Each year over the last decade, I have prepared a Canada Job Trends Update report on how youth and everyone else are doing in the labour force in Canada and in each province. I have developed a ranking model for youth doing using 10 labour market indicators. (Go to my website below for more information.)

For youth, there has been a major shift between the provinces. In 2000, Ontario was to best place, job wise, to be for youth. For the next eight years, Alberta was the best place to be and in 2009 Saskatchewan became number one.

What about Ontario? Ontario was in ninth spot in 2009 and has never ranked better than seventh in the last five years. The previous year, Ontario actually fell to last spot behind Newfoundland, which usually claims the last spot.

British Columbia was in eight spot in 2009 and has also loss ground over the last five years. Quebec, the second largest province usually ranks someplace in the middle.

Youth rebel. They want to change things. They often want to shock us older types. I did a lot of the same when I was their age. Didn’t you? It was and is a time to discover who we are.

However youth might act, most are serious about getting an education, making their own money and planning for the future.

As a sometime, part-time, college instructor I have always been impressed by young people. They ask good questions that we should all be asking rather than just complaining. They must be asking a lot of questions about current economic questions.

Politicians should be providing more of the answers or at least admitting the realities and trying to provide additional support for the youth in this difficult economic climate. If youth are indeed our future, lets make they also have one.

Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting. Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.

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