Things continue to look grim for young job seekers in January as Canada's economic engine continues to stall. For the fourth straight month youth aged 15 to 24 incurred significant job losses (to recap January saw losses of -9,000; December -17,000; November -18,000; October -14,600). I drilled down on the data relating to young adults aged 25 to 29 and 30 to 34, these demographic groups have also seen an overall deterioration in the rate of employment over the past four months. Essentially, what we're seeing is an overall slump in the job prospects for young Canadians right now.
This slide is going to continue into the spring, if not much, much longer. Events that might stop the bleeding of youth jobs would be a rebound in demand from the U.S., if recent positive indicators hold, and a positive resolution in the European debt crisis; however, what's clouding matters is the moves by provincial and Federal governments to implement austerity measures - any move in this direction will further devastate an already weak labour market. If the cuts are as severe as rumoured, we could be looking at an unemployment rate of 8.0% or higher. None of which is good for young people looking for work; right now the official youth unemployment rate is 14.5%, but as I've previously reported the "real" unemployment rate for youth is probably closer to 20%.
What we're lacking here is any sort of official acknowledgement or public policy response to the growing crisis of youth unemployment. Stimulus spending directed at the real economy and providing young people with sorely needed jobs would go along way at this juncture, but no politicians are talking about the dire state of the labour market for young people. Also of concern are the structural labour market problems such as training, workforce development and providing the skills that are needed by youth in the new economy. There's a lot of work to be done to put Canada's economy on a sustainable solid path to the future, but we're seeing very little by way of innovation at present.