Tags: Investing in Alberta’s Future

Posted on Dec 10, 2019

Youth unemployment rises as Kenney's jobs plan proves to be a massive failure

November job numbers released last week show that youth and young adult unemployment is on the rise in Alberta, despite promises from Premier Kenney and the UCP to create jobs by cutting the minimum wage for youth. 

Since Kenney and the UCP implemented their $4.7 billion handout to corporations and cut the minimum wage for youth, there are 20,500 fewer youth employed in Alberta. Youth unemployment in November was at 15.2 per cent, a two point increase from the month before and a five point increase year over year. When Kenney and the UCP formed government, the rate was 11 per cent. 

The sudden increase reverses the two year trend seen under the NDP government where youth unemployment steadily declined. 

“Over the last month, I've submitted hundreds of resumes for anything and everything that comes my way - but no luck.”  

“I’ve never been this scared about the uncertainty of how I'm going to pay my bills, pay my rent, and continue to get by with higher bills and earning less," said Brandon Beavan, a young Calgarian laid off in November.

Especially hard hit were young men. The unemployment rate for males between the ages of 15 and 24 jumped to 19.4 per cent in November. This was an increase of almost three points compared to the previous month and an increase of more than six points since November 2018. According to economist Trevor Tombe, the unemployment rate for young men is at a level not seen since 1983, and the sharpest increase outside of a recession on record. 

“As a young person in Alberta who just wants to work hard, make a living wage, and be able to get by, I’m distraught,” said Matthew Ondrejka, 22, a young Calgarian looking for work. “I just want to work hard, save money for school and find my way. This government promised us jobs, but I’m not seeing it.”

In total, 18,000 jobs were lost in November, causing the unemployment rate to jump to 7.2 per cent. It was the largest single-month job loss outside of a recession period in provincial history.  Over 180,000 people are now unemployed in Alberta.

“Jason Kenney and the UCP promised that handing over a $4.7 billion gift to big corporations and slashing minimum wage for youth would create jobs,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley.  “He was wrong. Instead, wealthy corporations pocket more while the rest of Albertans wrestle with fewer jobs and lower pay.”

“Youth unemployment is on the rise and they’ve cancelled programs like the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) that gave youth practical skills to enter the workforce. Instead of a race to the bottom and cuts to programs that were creating jobs, we should be investing in our province - especially our youth.”