Labour market conditions improving for young women: StatsCan

Men experiencing higher unemployment, fewer full-time jobs
||Last Updated: 07/04/2013

Over the past three decades, the employment outcomes of young Canadians aged 15 to 34 evolved differently across periods, gender, age groups and provinces, with women seeing the greatest gains, according to a report by Statistics Canada.


Women aged 25 to 34 had more favourable employment outcomes in 2012 than did their counterparts in 1981. They had lower unemployment rates, greater incidence of full-time employment, and higher wages in 2012 than in 1981.

Like other young Canadians, women aged 25 to 34 saw their unemployment rate vary with the business cycle. The rate stood at 6.2 per cent in 2012, down from 8.3 per cent in 1981.

In 2012, 61.7 per cent of women aged 25 to 34 held a full-time job, up from 47.7 per cent in 1981.

After adjusting for inflation, the median hourly wage of women employed full time increased 13 per cent from 1981 to 2012.

These improvements in unemployment, full-time employment rates and wages were observed both in oil-producing provinces and non-oil-producing provinces.


Contrary to their female counterparts, men aged 25 to 34 generally had lower outcomes in 2012 than in 1981.

Their nationwide unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent in 2012, up from 6.2 per cent in 1981.

In 2012, 78.5 per cent of men aged 25 to 34 held a full-time job, down from 87 per cent in 1981. In addition, those who were employed full time as paid workers saw their median hourly wages drop four per cent over the period.

These national-level numbers mask important differences between oil-producing provinces and the rest of the country, said StatsCan.

In the oil-producing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, men aged 25 to 34 saw their full-time employment rate fall from 90.2 per cent in 1981 to 85.9 per cent in 2012. However, their wages rose by six per cent during this period and their unemployment rate was relatively low in both years, at 4.2 per cent in 1981 and 4.4 per cent in 2012.

In other provinces, men aged 25 to 34 had lower outcomes in 2012 than in 1981 on all three indicators. Their unemployment rate rose from 6.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent, their full-time employment rate dropped from 86.3 per cent to 76.9 per cent and their wages fell by six per cent.

Labour market conditions

Men and women under 25 years old also experienced lower employment outcomes between 1981 and 2012.

In this age group, unemployment rates increased both for men (from 13.7 per cent in 1981 to 15.9 per cent in 2012) and to a lesser extent for women (11.7 per cent to 12.6 per cent).

Men under 25 who were not attending school full time saw their full-time employment rate drop from 72.1 per cent in 1981 to 57.1 per cent in 2012. Their female counterparts also experienced a drop, from 57.8 per cent in 1981 to 46.1 per cent in 2012.

Young men and women under 25 also experienced a drop in pay rates (in constant dollars). From 1981 to 2012, the median hourly wage earned in full-time jobs fell by 13 per cent for men and eight per cent for women.

These declines in wages and full-time employment rates were less pronounced in oil-producing provinces than in non-oil producing provinces, said Statistics Canada.

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