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Unemployment rates vary by age Part II: Mature workers

Unemployment rates vary by age Part II: Mature workers

Posted on: 2/13/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


Yesterday, The Owl explored how young workers in Alberta are having a harder time finding work than people over the age of 25. But at the other end of the age spectrum, workers are also having difficulties landing the job. The reasons, though, are likely different.

The chart below shows the unemployment rate for Albertans of all ages, compared to the rate for those aged 55 and up. The all-ages rate hit a high during the recession in November 2016, but since then has dropped by two percentage points to 7.0 per cent.

Mature workers--those aged 55 and older--have enjoyed an unemployment rate lower than the all-ages average. But during and after the recession, the jobless rate for mature workers has been more volatile. It spiked to 9.4 per cent at the peak of the recession, plunged to the mid-six per cent range last year, but climbed again recently. Currently, the unemployment rate for mature workers is above the all-ages average.

While mature workers generally have good work experience, they may have trouble competing with younger workers if their skills and technical competencies are not kept up. Mature workers are every bit as capable of learning new skills, but younger workers may be coming out of school with those freshly-minted skills in hand. It highlights the importance of lifelong learning--especially in the 21st century when many industries are rapidly being transformed by technology.

Unemployment, mature workers, graph​ ​

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