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Unemployment rates vary by age Part I: Young workers

Unemployment rates vary by age Part I: Young workers

Posted on: 2/12/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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Despite the recession having technically ended more than a year ago, many Albertans are still struggling to find work. That struggle is especially daunting for young workers.

The chart below shows the unemployment rate for Albertans aged 15 to 24 years, compared to the rate for those 25 years and up. The first thing one notices is that the jobless rate for young people is always higher than it is for their older counterparts. Even during the boom years in 2013 and 2014, the unemployment rate for young workers hovered around 10 per cent.

But the second thing one notices is that while the unemployment rate for workers over 25 years has gradually eased lower over the last year, the rate for young workers has barely budged.

The unemployment rate for those over 25 years crested in November 2016 at 8.3 per cent. By January of this year, that rate has dropped to 6.1 per cent--a decrease of 2.2 percentage points. However, over the same period, unemployment for workers aged 15 to 24 has fallen by only 0.7 percentage points and currently sits at 12.8 per cent.

Young people struggle with the age-old predicament: it’s tough to get work without experience, and you can’t get experience without work. As Alberta’s economy improves, employers are gradually hiring people back--but they appear to be favouring those with experience.

Tomorrow, The Owl will explore how workers at the other end of the age spectrum--those over 55 years--are faring in the job market.

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