Newly released research has revealed that the Harper government's job creation record -- put in historical perspective -- is nothing to brag about. But its record of job creation for young people is undeniably dismal. Armine Yalnizyan writes:
If you look at the proportion of people working by age group, this job recovery has been skewed toward Canadians aged 55 and over. Young people have seen almost no increase in their employment rate and, as you're about to read, the quality of those jobs has deteriorated. This is all the more striking because the young population (aged 15-24) did not grow, while the population of those aged 55 and over has grown by 22 per cent since 2009.
While there was a bigger, more prolonged drop in the employment rate of young workers in the wake of the 1990–1992 recession, today's young workers started off from a lower level and have, as yet, not seen any "recovery." Between 2008 and 2012, almost 30,000 people aged 15-24 wanted work but were not in the labour force and had returned to school; but this number has been falling off and has now returned to 2005 levels. We cannot compare these trends to what happened in the 1990s due to data limitations. We can only hope these investments in human capital will ultimately pay off, for the students and for society.
But, thus far, this recovery has been notable in its absence of job growth and steady job opportunities for young people. Between October 2008 and July 2009, young workers lost 185,000 full-time and 32,000 part-time jobs. Since then, they have recovered only 15,000 full-time jobs, though the number of part-time jobs is almost back to pre-recession levels. However, over the course of the past year, they lost 31,000 part-time jobs and added almost no new full-time jobs.
Yesterday, Kathleen Wynne and Stephen Harper did battle over the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. Wynne said the plan was needed by young workers -- part of the newly dubbed precariat -- whose new normal is precarious contract or self employment. They will not get workplace pensions. Thirty years in and out with a gold watch is gone. They will know many employers in a work life that will span more than thirty years. Stephen Harper's response was:
I am delighted to see, quite frankly, that our refusal to co-operate with the imposition of this tax is making it more difficult for the Ontario government to proceed.
The day is coming when the young will take out their anger on the fat, old men who stand in their way and the system that is rigged against them.