Jobs, Economy and Environment

Youth unemployment, quality of jobs a big concern: Georgetti comments on August job numbers

September 6, 2013

OTTAWA ― The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says that youth unemployment and the quality of jobs across the economy remain big concerns in Canada.

Ken Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for August 2013. There were 1,362,000 unemployed Canadians in August and the overall unemployment rate was 7.1%. In the 15-to-24 age group, official unemployment stood at 14.1%, an increase from 13.9% in July. Fully 48.3% of young workers were employed part-time, up from 47.9% in July.

“Youth unemployment was too high back in July and it got even higher in August,” says Georgetti, “Most of the new jobs we saw in the entire labour force in August were part-time. People cannot build lives and support families on part-time work.”

Georgetti is calling governments and employers to invest in job creation and training. “There is a crying need for physical infrastructure and good quality social services in Canada and we have unemployed people who would be only too happy to  be working for the country’s benefit.”

He says that Ottawa has provided billions in corporate tax giveaways in the hope  that companies would invest in job creation and training. “Those companies are  sitting on the cash instead of investing it in job creation and training. They must  put that money to work in the economy.”

Georgetti adds that the federal government should set a new direction for assisting in job creation when it delivers its Speech from the Throne in October.

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen

There were 1.36 million unemployed workers in Canada in August 2013, and the unemployment rate was 7.1%. Small gains in employment in August offset losses in July, but the gains were concentrated in part-time work and self-employment. Gains in health care and social assistance, information, culture, and recreation, and accommodation and food services offset losses in other areas such as educational services, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, and other services.

The real unemployment rate for young workers aged 15-24, was 19.1% in August, similar to the past three years in August and five percentage points higher than the pre-recession rate. In comparison, the real unemployment rate for workers over 25 is 8.5%, which is one percentage point higher than the pre-recession rate.

The increase in part time jobs was concentrated among young workers and women over 55. Involuntary part-time remains high at 30% among part-time workers who would like full-time work. This is compared to 25% pre-recession. The part-time rate for young workers rose to 48.3% this August, a full percentage point higher than  in  August 2012. The increase in part-time work among young workers explains why the average hours worked by students this summer fell to 23.7 per week, the first decline in hours worked since 2009.

While there were 246,100 more jobs August 2013 compared to the previous August, the labour force grew by 237,500 over the same period, so unemployment declined by a net of only 8,700 persons.

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 130 district labour councils.

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