Young people are collectively approaching their employment rate seen before the COVID-19 pandemic changed their working lives, Canadian employment data showed on Friday, led by young women who had previously been left behind and teenagers on school vacations.
But while the summer reopens have allowed the worst-hit segments of the service sector to expand their hiring, it remains a challenge to fill the additional roles, says a youth employment advocate.
“Jobs are back, but many jobs remain unfilled across Canada in typical youth sectors such as restaurants, tourism and hospitality., ” said Angela Simo Brown, CEO of Opportunities For All Youth, an employer-led coalition that helps young people who face barriers to getting a job find meaningful work.
He said the group is seeing fewer young people looking for work during its busiest hiring season and encouraged those seeking employment to communicate regarding the many jobs available across the country.
Some 35,000 more women between the ages of 15 and 24 were employed in August compared to July. Statistics Canada said, noting that it was the first time that its employment rate returned to the level of February last year. Young men fell slightly below pre-pandemic levels last month.
Among teens, employment in August was 50,000 higher than in February 2020, the statistics agency said, while employment among those aged 20-24 was 92,000 lower.
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The challenges faced by older youth are also reflected in the labor market results for returning students, who were employed in summer jobs at a rate two percentage points lower than in the summer of 2019.
Nearly 900,000 young people in Canada lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic when closures shut down retail and hospitality businesses where many earn their salaries.
Their job recovery has also been more erratic than the general workforce, as their already precarious jobs in service industries are more likely to disappear during waves of infections prompting stricter public health restrictions.
Although total youth employment remained 41,000, or 1.6%, below its pre-pandemic level, the 57.6% youth employment rate was essentially a return to its February 2020 level due to a decrease in size. of the young population.
Overall, there were 90,000 more people employed in August than in July, Statistics Canada said. Combined with gains in June and July, the increase pushed the job market as close as it has ever been to pre-pandemic levels, just 0.8% below its February 2020 level.
“Jobs are back, but many jobs are still unfilled in Canada in typical youth sectors such as restaurants, tourism and hospitality,” says Angela Simo Brown of Opportunities For All Youth. #LabourForceSurvey #StatCan #COVID
Employment in Ontario also increased for the third month in a row, with nearly all of the 53,000 new positions in part-time work. Room and board services contributed most of the gains, while the number of jobs in educational, information, culture and recreation services also increased significantly, StatCan said.
The wider Toronto area drove those gains, with an increase of 73,000 jobs.
Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer