Youth Unemployment in Canada: Challenging Conventional Thinking?

About the study

This study analyzed Canadian youth unemployment trends. Using Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (years up to 2011), the study compared employment and unemployment trends of youth (ages 15-24) to young workers (ages 25-29) and older workers (ages 30-54). The study further provided insight into youth underemployment and skills underutilization.


What can be learned from this study?

• While the youth unemployment rate reached 15.2 percent during the most recent recession, the rate was lower compared to two previous recessions (17.2 percent in 1993 and 19.2 percent in 1983 respectively).

• Canada’s youth population is expected to fall 7.1 percent by 2021 and 9.3 percent by 2029 for young workers.

• About half of employed youth worked in clerical, sales and service occupations in 2011, and older workers do not appear to be crowding out youth from these occupations.

• More youths were employed in high-wage occupations and wages for youth workers increased, but skills underutilization was prevalent among youth, especially those employed in clerical, sales, and service occupations.

• Youth with higher education no longer had an advantage in the labour market.

• There are a number of factors that contribute to youth underemployment: Canada’s industry restructuring negatively affected youth underemployment; youths were less willing to relocate to another region for work than in the past; and the labour market information system should be improved to prevent the mismatching of job seekers and employers.


What method(s) did the study use?

Analysis of Statistics Canada data