While it is commonly understood that universities and colleges are a refuge from a hard economic climate, students were among the hardest hit by the recession, according to a report released by Statistics Canada yesterday. The unemployment rate jumped to nine per cent in 2009-10 compared to 6.5 per cent in 2007-08 before the economic downturn. Though the overall employment rate fell to 45 per cent from 48 per cent, it was still markedly higher than the 1970s when the employment rate for students was 25 per cent.
Summer of 2009 represented the hardest labour market for students aged 20-24 when the jobless rate hit 14 per cent, compared to nine per cent in summer 2008. During the recession those who worked, worked an average of one hour less, but the average wage rose from $10.75 to $11.80, resulting in average earnings holding at $6,300. Of students who worked, 96 per cent were employed in the service sector.
The report noted that a one per cent increase in unemployment, results in a six per cent increase of students seeking loans.
Statistics Canada remains optimistic that with the reversal of the economic downturn students who wish to find work should be able to do so. The employment rate increased in summer 2010 to to 47 per cent. “With signs that student employment is starting to recover, students wanting work may soon have a better chance of being employed again,” the report stated.