Youth Unemployment Requires Government Action, CAW President Says

May 11, 2012, 10:45 AM EST

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Despite some good news about job creation in Canada last month, CAW President Ken Lewenza says he remains concerned that younger workers are not benefitting and he renewed his call for a national jobs strategy.

Lewenza was reacting to Statistics Canada's monthly report on jobs for April that showed that employment increased by 58,000 jobs. But Lewenza said the report also highlights numerous troubling issues for job seekers in Canada.

Even though employment increased, the unemployment rate last month actually nudged up by 0.1 per cent to 7.3 per cent as a result of more people looking for work.

Lewenza said while there is some good news with more full time jobs being created, the unemployment rate remains high and noted that younger workers in particular are having a tough time finding jobs.

Statistics Canada said youth employment in April was little changed with an unemployment rate of 13.9 per cent. Youth employment has been little changed since July, 2009, Stats Canada said.

"Young people are not able to find jobs in this economy and the federal government must do more to ensure our youth secure decent full time jobs," Lewenza said. "The federal government must show a lot more leadership on the stubborn issue of youth unemployment in Canada."

Lewenza repeated his call for a multi-stakeholder, national good jobs summit in the wake of ongoing structural changes in the Canadian labour market, including the loss of more than half a million good paying manufacturing and processing jobs in the last seven years.

He also said that while last month's statistics show some positive news in construction, natural resources, manufacturing and agriculture, government cutbacks and austerity budgets are hurting economic growth with public administration jobs declining.

He said a jobs summit would be a solid starting point toward building a national good jobs strategy.

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