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Job Prospects Dim for Poised-to-Graduate Youngsters

Youth, they say, is wasted on the young. It’s one of those bitterly uttered comments, no doubt squeezed through the vinegary lips of a member of the older generation. Truth is, the job market being what it is right now, age and maturity might actually be the preferable condition.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the rate of unemployment for Canadians between 15 and 24 in 2013 ranged from 16 to 17.1 percent. That compared to an all-ages average of 13.5 to 14.5 percent.

ImageAdd to that the fact that some 25 percent of young workers in Canada are underemployed and an estimated one-third of post-secondary grads, ages 25 to 29, are languishing in low-skilled positions simply so they might nibble away at their student debts.

Consider, too, that Canadian students graduate under the burden of an average of $14,000 of debt (or $25,000 if you knock the lucky faction carrying no debt at all out of the calculation), the highest debt ever for fresh-to-the-workforce alumni.

And Ontario’s monthly youth employment rate, a measure of the number of young people who actually have jobs in this province, tells an even more desperate tale. Between 50 and 52 percent of this country’s youth contingent are not able to find work. That’s a truly extraordinary statistic that nudges Ontario into the dubious top spot for youth unemployment outside of Atlantic Canada.

Toronto’s youth unemployment rate, meanwhile, sits at 18.1 percent and its employment rate at 43.5 percent — the worst of any region in the province.

And so here you’ve got a population of citizens whose MO is pretty much identical of that of their parents: get an education, leave university and become financially independent members of, and contributing members to, society at large. But this cohort arguably faces more challenges in seeing that through than any other generation in recent memory.

Given this grim reality, the argument favouring green over grey loses much of its youthful blush.

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