Aboriginal Peoples faced higher unemployment during recession: StatsCan

Youth, trades, transport saw biggest losses
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/23/2011

In the economic downturn that began in 2008, employment fell further and over a longer period among Aboriginal Peoples than in the non-Aboriginal workforce, according to Statistics Canada. This was true for all age groups.

Among Aboriginal Peoples in the core-aged working population (25 to 54 years old), employment fell by 2.8 per cent in 2009 and by 4.9 per cent in 2010. Employment for non-Aboriginal core-aged workers fell by 1.7 per cent in 2009, but it rebounded in 2010 by 0.8 per cent, said Statistics Canada.

Declines for core-aged Aboriginal workers were all in full time in both years. For their non-Aboriginal counterparts, the losses in 2009 were all in full-time work, while the gains in 2010 were a combination of full- and part-time jobs.

As employment levels among Aboriginal Peoples continued to decline, the gap between the two populations widened in terms of participation rates as well as rates of employment and unemployment.

In 2010, the participation rate for core-aged Aboriginal workers was 75 per cent compared with 86.7 per cent for their non-Aboriginal counterparts. This 11.7 percentage-point gap was the largest between these two groups over the four-year period for which comparable data are available, said Statistics Canada.

Core-aged Aboriginal men fared worse than their female counterparts during this period. The participation rate for Aboriginal men fell 4.5 percentage points to 80.4 per cent, while the rate for Aboriginal women declined by 1.2 points to 70 per cent.

Provincially, the employment rate fell at the fastest pace among Aboriginal core-aged workers in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta during this two-year period. Employment rates among Aboriginal core-aged workers were lowest in Quebec (61.1 per cent) and British Columbia (62.7 per cent).

Occupations experiencing the largest employment losses for core-aged Aboriginal workers were trades, transport and equipment operators; sales and service workers; occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities; and management occupations.

Young people aged 15 to 24 were particularly hard hit by the economic downturn. Participation rates fell among both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youths from 2008 to 2010, but more so among Aboriginal young people.

Between 2008 and 2010, the participation rate for Aboriginal young people declined by five percentage points to 57 per cent. Among non-Aboriginal youths, it fell 2.9 points to 64.8 per cent.

Participation rates fell fastest for Aboriginal young people in Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta. However, as fewer participated in the labour force, more Aboriginal youth were attending school. Ontario, Quebec and Alberta had the largest increase in their school attendance rate.

Participation rates also fell among older Aboriginal workers aged 55 and older. Their rate in 2010 was 34.6 per cent, down 1.4 points from 2008. In contrast, the rate for older non-Aboriginal workers increased by 1.7 points to 36 per cent.

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