Employment gap widens for immigrants

Population growth outpaces job gains

The employment gap between working-age immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts continued to widen in 2007, according to Statistics Canada.

The employment rate among immigrants between the ages of 25 to 54 edge up 0.2 percentage points to 77.9 per cent, while the employment rate among their Canadian-born counterparts increased by 0.7 percentage points to reach 83.8 per cent.

In 2007, the employment rate rose faster for the Canadian born, as their employment growth (1.3 per cent) greatly outpaced their population growth, while immigrant employment increases (2.1 per cent) did not match their population gains. The end result was that the employment rate gap between immigrants and the Canadian born widened from 5.4 percentage points in 2006 to 5.9 percentage points in 2007.

Almost all of the employment growth for immigrants in 2007 occurred among established immigrants, namely those who had been in Canada for more than 10 years.

Gains for very recent immigrants, those in the country for five years or less, were relatively small. Despite a dip in the unemployment rate of these very recent immigrants, the rate remained more than double that of the Canadian born.

More than one-half (more than 28,000 jobs) of the growth in employment for Canadian immigrants in 2007 took place in Quebec. Their unemployment rate also fell from 12.0 per cent to 10.2 per cent. In contrast, the unemployment rate for the Canadian born in Quebec was 5.6 per cent.

As was the case for the Canadian born, most employment growth for immigrants aged 25 to 54 was in the service sector, although the growth occurred in different industries.

Immigrants made notable gains in transportation (19,000) and accommodation and food services (15,000). For the Canadian born, the largest gains were in public administration, professional, scientific and technical services, as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.

University-educated immigrants of core working age had the largest gains in immigrant employment, with an estimated gain of 62,000 (a seven-per-cent increase), all in full-time work. In contrast, the vast majority of employment growth for the Canadian born was among those with a postsecondary certificate or diploma.

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