Apr 10, 2009

March unemployment hits women and young


There is an interesting side story to the information that came out last week showing a big jump in unemployment in BC.

Almost all of the increase was among two groups – women and young people. The overall unemployment rate jumped from 6.7% to 7.4%. The increase for men over the age of 25 was 0.2%, from 6.5 to 6.7%.

But for women the jump was nearly a full percentage point, from 5.0% to 5.9%. Among young people 15 to 24 the unemployment rate jumped from 11.6% to 13.5%. Young people and women made up 80% of the increase in unemployment last month.

That doesn’t mean men over the age of 24 are not being hit. They have been hit very hard in the last six months. Now it looks like substantial numbers of men over 25 are leaving the labour force, while women are entering the labour force. And these are just the numbers for one month. But it does suggest that the recession is reaching down further in the economy, well beyond construction and resource jobs.

And it also raises questions about the solutions being proposed. We do need infrastructure investment, but how much good will this do for women and young people not trained in the trades?

If this trend continues, it is just one more reason why, no matter who wins the election, we will see a new provincial budget in a very short time. The unemployment rate this summer for young people will be enormous. And no government will be able to just ignore continually rising rates of unemployment for women.

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