Although jobless rates in Canada and the developed world increased during the 2008 financial crisis, analysts have hailed the Canadian job market’s resilience through the recession. According to Statistics Canada, this trend is continuing. Canada’s unemployment rate remains at 7% while the U.S. and U.K. maintain rates of 7.8%, and the Eurozone’s rate increased to 11.8%.
51,000 new full-time jobs were created nationally in February, in addition to the entry of 60,000 Canadians into the workforce. The big winners for the February job increases were the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Thunder Bay, and Toronto, while Vancouver, Saskatoon, Regina, Ottawa, Hamilton, Montréal, Saint John, and Halifax all saw job losses. Among the new jobs created, the construction sector saw the biggest increase with 18,000 new jobs, while the highest-paid industries suffered losses.
Analysts have doubts about long-term growth and whether employment figures will continue to climb. New jobs have been added, but the economy is not growing. According to Capital Economics, one of the world’s leading economic research consultancies, the discrepancy between growth and employment increases will likely be corrected not by an increase in GDP, but by lower employment. One reason for this is the unemployment rate being above 6% even before the global economic downturn in 2007, but also the effect that problems in the U.S. and Europe have on Canadian markets.
By contrast, Hamilton’s unemployment rate has been steadily declining for the past seven months. At 5.6%, Hamilton has the lowest unemployment rate in the province, and the eighth lowest in the country—faring considerably better than cities like Toronto or St. Catharines-Niagara which stand at 7.9 % and 8.1%, respectively.
Not all groups have benefited equally from the job growth. Canada’s youth unemployment rate stands at 14.7%. Nearly half of the jobs lost in the recent downturn were among those 25 and under, and as part of an austerity budget, the federal government plans to close 300 youth employment centres across the country.
Here again, Hamilton does better. According to a Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s report, Hamilton’s youth (age 15-24) unemployment rate is 12.2%, slightly lower than Ontario’s, which stands at 12.9%, and lower than the national average of 14.2%.
In this bleak job market, many worry about the plight of recent graduates from both college and university, and the amount of debt these students must contend with. Although statistics are not available for how recent grads fare by region, the national unemployment rates for college and university graduates are 5.9% and 4.9%, respectively. Given these rates, and the lower rates of unemployment generally for youth in Hamilton, it seems Hamilton’s recent college and university graduates have a brighter outlook than their national counterparts.