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Great information. This downturn doesn't intuitively seem as tough on young people as previous ones, although I wondered if it was just me, because this time I'm neither young nor unemployed. The last graph shows how much worse things were for unemployed young people in the early 1990s (when I left Canada for US grad school).

But since people are still complaining, I'm wondering if there is some data on the types of jobs being done, on involuntary part-time work, or maybe real wage levels or wages compared to the price of basket of goods over time? I`m asking if there is any economic data that shows whether young people have it so much worse off today?

(housing prices maybe? and not to buy a bungalow in Vancouver, but maybe to rent a small apartment? or is it just that "expenses" are up (computer, iphone, latte habit, clothing tastes, etc.)

What would be really interesting would be to take that first unemployment graph, and overlay the governing party in Canada on the bottom of the chart. We might get a nice picture of which governing party has been better for unemployment.

Why have employed and unemployment diverged so much?

I'd also look at "self-employed" as well as underemployment (the US tracks part-time workers due to economic reasons as a measure of this).

Frances - I'm not sure what you mean.

Stephen, I meant the unemployed and the unemployment rate. But I get it now, it's due to population growth, and # of unemployed is in '000s. It would be interesting to compare unemployed/population and unemployed/labour force i.e. unemployed/(employed+unemployed).


Interesting post. Ont point though, you say:

"In August 2011, there were 1.516m people unemployed, and there were 729,000 people who were unemployed for 5 weeks or more in September 2011. This suggests that 1.516m - 729k = 787,000 (52%) of the those who were unemployed in August found a job within the next month."

I think you need to also need to take into account flows from unemployment to Not-in-labour-force (NLF). Stephen Jones' CPP 1993 paper shows that these flows are pretty big (he had monthly hazard rate at .22 from unemployment to employment vs. .17 from unemployment to NLF).

Gah - you're quite right. I should have thought of that.

Damn. Maybe I can get something from participation rates....

"But since people are still complaining"

Complaining I guess because they have jobs, but perhaps neither the job nor the wage they wanted. Haven't wages been fairly stagant? That would cause unhappiness to build-up over time.

How do you document working at a gas station or on shifts at a call centre for $12/hour when you got a degree and wanted to go into something with $40K and 9-5 hours?

There is a statutory bias to encourage that behaviour in the EI system and it's reinforced through cultural and social norms in Canada.

But the person in that situation is caught in a Stag Hunt problem: they can't find an employer who will pay them enough and provide them opportunities to reach their full potential.

This is why when I heard a recent piece on CBC about a think tank wanting Canada to become an economy of the educated and high-skilled I wondered "Yeah, and where are we going to get the financial capital to set up those companies and enable them to take that kind of risk?"

Skills doesn't mean much if you don't have the financial capital to exploit them.

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