OTTAWA ― Far too many young Canadian workers are either unemployed or underemployed and governments must come up with a strategy to solve the problem – a problem that has been with us persistently since the 2008 recession, says Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
“Young people people want to work and contribute. They want to build lives for themselves but too often they can’t find work, or they are stuck in short term, part-time, and poorly paid jobs. Governments have let them down by failing to act. We owe them better than this.”
Yussuff was responding to the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for May 2014. The official unemployment rate was 7.0% in May and the rate of underemployment was 14.7%. In the 15-to-24 age group, 13.3% of workers were unemployed and 30.4% underemployed. The underemployed can include part-time workers who want to work full-time, or people who have given up searching altogether. Neither group would be described by Statistics Canada as being unemployed, but they are underemployed.
Yussuff also pointed to Statistics Canada’s 2011 census data, which showed that 42.3 % of young adults aged 20 to 29 lived at home, compared to 27 per cent in 1981, noting that their having to live at home will have an impact on how much their parents can save for their own retirement.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, employers in Canada spent only $688 per employee on training in 2011, while U.S employers spent on average, $1,071 per employee – approximately $400 more per employee per year than in Canada.
“Our governments talk about investing in jobs, but the fact is that Canada has fallen far behind. It’s time to walk the talk and for governments to provide deliberate labour market strategies that will allow people to find full-time, meaningful work,” said Yussuff.
Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen
Statistics Canada reported a loss of 29,000 full-time jobs in May, and a gain of 55,000 part-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, all job growth has been in part-time work, with a net gain of 112,000 part-time jobs. This May more than 1 million workers in Canada were working part-time jobs but wanted full-time work. This is the highest number of underemployed part-time workers in May since Statistics Canada began collecting this information in 1997.
Job growth continues to be centred in the private sector, with year-over-year declines in the public sector and among self-employed workers. Compared to last May, there were 6,000 fewer workers in educational services and 23,000 fewer workers in public administration. The construction industry has seen the largest year-over-year decline in employment, with a loss of 39,000 jobs. Job growth was strongest in the health care and social assistance sector.
The unemployment rate for persons who have been landed immigrants for 5 years or less was 12.4% in May, slightly higher than May 2013 when it was 12.1%. The unemployment rate for newcomers who have been landed immigrants for 5-10 years was 8.7%, an improvement from 9.9% in May 2013. This is still markedly higher than the 7.0% unemployment rate for Canadian-born persons, indicating a need for services to assist recent newcomers in the Canadian job market.
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils