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Youth unemployment in the recent downturn

The youth labour market was particularly hard hit in the recent economic downturn. Between the onset of the recession in October 2008 and December of last year, the number of unemployed among young people age 15 to 24 increased by 96,500, and their labour force participation rate dipped by 3 percentage points to 64.7%, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Labour Force Survey.

This pushed the youth unemployment rate to 16% in December 2009, more than double the rate of 7.1% among individuals age 25 years and over.  Also, young people saw their unemployment rate jump by 3.9 percentage points from October 2008, compared to 2.0 points for their older counterparts.

Chart - Youth unemployment rate in the recent economic downturn

As has been observed among other demographic groups, the male/female gap is also clearly present among young people.  Young men's unemployment rate reached 19.1% in December 2009, up 6.1 percentage points from October 2008—compared to the increase of 1.6 points among young women, whose unemployment rate reached 12.8% at the end of last year.

Both teenage boys and young men saw their employment rate decline faster than their female counterparts:  -7.8 and -6.5 percentage points for the 15- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds respectively, compared with -5.3 and -0.8 points for their female counterparts respectively.

Table - Youth unemployment rate in the recent economic downturn

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