Should we be worried about the high unemployment stats in the younger generations? In the eighties,  a similar economic and political climate in the UK, the skinhead culture was born, mostly as a result of lost job opportunities….

Unemployment Report

The true level of unemployment is always somewhat obfuscated by governmental policies that make applying for, and receiving employment insurance difficult. These are some of the stats (and opinions) I’ve read recently:

It seems that 13.6 percent of people aged 15-24 are currently ‘reporting’ being unemployed. That rate dropped by 1.4 points from the previous month because of how many young people gave up looking for work.

This is made worse by the fact that this is only the reported rate. The ‘reported’ unemployment rate in the U.S. is 9 percent or so – depending on the month, but the actual rate, including discouraged workers is widely agreed to be closer to 17 percent.

So if the reported rate of youth unemployment in Canada is 13 percent give or take – what’s the actual rate? 23 perent? 25 percent? It’s a situation some observers are calling a ‘powderkeg.’

Source: Raise the Hammer – Extremism and the Long Emergency

This, in and of itself would not be so troubling, but when combined with high oil prices (possibly related to peak oil?), low grain reserves and worn out government budgets that seem ill-prepared to take “round two” of the financial crisis – the question has to be asked – how stable is our social infrastructure?

This is a problem internationally, with the globalyouth unemployment rate climbing from 11.9 per cent in 2007 to 13 per cent in 2009. And the problem extends further into social issues, including government funding.

The new report found that unemployment, underemployment and discouragement can have a negative impact on young people in the long-term, compromising their future work prospects. The cost of idleness among youth, it said, is that societies lost their investment in the education of young people, while governments receive fewer contributions to social security systems and must boost spending on remedial services. “Young people are the drivers of economic development,” Mr. Somavia stressed.


This should be an issue of critical concern to all levels of government – the idea of investing in our future seems to be a far away topic that someone else should be looking after.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.