Young workers, students left behind in economy, say Canadian Federation of Students and Unifor


TORONTO, Sept. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Today's unemployment numbers demonstrated that students, recent graduates and young workers are being utterly left behind in the Canadian economy, said Unifor National President Jerry Dias and Canadian Federation of Students National Chairperson Jessica McCormick.

This past month, employment among young workers and students fell by a whopping 20,000 jobs, according to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey, released this morning.

"Over the summer, the unemployment rate for young workers (15-24) stayed stubbornly high, as it has been since the recession.  This is the very time that it should be easier for young people to find jobs - the jobs that they need to be able to go to school in September," said Dias. "Whatever recovery has happened entirely bypassed young people."

"Nearly half a million students have returned to school this fall after not being able to find summer employment and are facing an unstable future after graduation," said McCormick. "A good job has never been harder to find, and students will take actions to change that."

More than 1 in 4 young workers is classified as underemployed, often working in a series of low-skilled, part-time or temporary jobs. Today it's expected that one in every three young postsecondary graduates will transition from school into a low-skilled job, carrying with them an average debt-load of $28,000.

"Graduating with record-high debt levels, this generation's students are further limited in career options," said McCormick, "When more than half of all students have to borrow to finance their education, debt becomes the deciding factor for career options in an already precarious job market."

Unifor and the Canadian Federation of Students have partnered with Ryerson University, the Centre for Labour Management Relations and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to host a national Good Jobs Summit in Toronto, October 3-5.

The goal of the Summit is to bring together students, workers, government, employers, unions, policy makers, researchers and non-governmental organizations to have a focussed discussion on the state of the economy and solutions to creating meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities - particularly for young people.  The Summit will take place at Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) and is expected to attract more than 1,000 people.

The event will feature CNN commentator and green jobs advocate Vann Jones, GE President and CEO Elyse Allan, Ryerson University President and Vice Chancellor Sheldon Levy, former Mayor of Toronto and President of the World Wildlife Federation Canada David Miller, Unifor President Jerry Dias, Unifor Economist Jim Stanford, Globe and Mail columnist and financial expert Preet Banerjee and a number of other business and thought leaders.

Unifor has also launched an infographic today 'the unemployment pages' showcasing the difficult circumstances young workers, students and recent graduates find themselves in.