Federal job cuts worsening high student unemployment levels, report says
In Canada, 106,000 full-time postsecondary students in their early 20s wanted to find a job but were unable to land one this June.
That's according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which argues that the federal government is making the country's high level of youth unemployment worse by slashing the number of summer jobs it offers to students.
The Help Not Wanted report, by CCPA research associate Kayle Hatt, says that summer hiring of students by government departments declined 36 percent, from 10,894 to under 7,000, between 2009 and 2013.
"In short, student placements in the public sector have been a causality of the government’s austerity push and the rush to eliminate the deficit before the next election," the report states.
Help Not Wanted notes that the annualized youth unemployment rate was 13.7 percent in 2013. That's 2.3 times the unemployment rate for adults older than 25.
It says that unemployment is a "particularly acute" problem for university and college students.
"Working during the summer or part-time during the school year is often thought of as a way for students to help finance their education and minimize their student debt," the report states. "It takes more than twice as long for a student making minimum wage to pay for the cost of university now, compared to a student in 1975; and, in the face of rapidly rising post-secondary education costs and often inadequate funding, many students find that they need to work during their education."
According to the report, students are hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program, co-operative education programs at postsecondary institutions, and the Research Affiliate Program.
"FSWEP and other student employment programs are an opportunity for the government to help young people build job skills and gain marketable experience; these programs should be protected from cuts," the report concludes.
"In fact, given the extent of our current youth unemployment problems, we should act counter-cyclically and increase — not cut — the number of students hired by the government."