Despite extremely tight labour markets characterized by record low unemployment and record high job vacancy rates, new data from Statistics Canada note that long-term unemployment remains elevated too.
The national statistical agency released new data showing that the number of workers receiving employment insurance dropped below 500,000 in April, down 3.8% from the previous month and down 70.2% from its pandemic peak.
At the same time, StatsCan reported that almost one-fifth of unemployed workers are considered “long-term unemployed,” defined as workers who have been searching for work, or laid off, for at least 27 weeks.
The share of long-term unemployed workers is up from its pre-pandemic level of 15.6%, it noted.
“Elevated long-term unemployment has persisted despite many other leading labour market indicators having fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels,” StatsCan said.
Moreover, recent data from StatsCan indicated almost 1 million unfilled jobs in the first quarter.
Long-term unemployed workers, who represent one possible solution to these very tight labour markets, “are a diverse group,” the report noted.
StatsCan said that over half (53.4%) of the long-term unemployed are under age 30, “which suggests that inexperience remains a barrier for some young people trying to enter the labour market.”
Additionally, it said 29% of the long-term unemployed have high school educations or less.
“Educational attainment may be another factor in facilitating the transition into employment,” StatsCan said.
“Differences in regional labour markets, and mismatches between the skills of potential workers and the skills required for vacancies, may also influence a person’s ability to find employment,” the agency said.
For instance, it reported that 25.3% of unemployment in Newfoundland and Labrador is categorized as long term, compared with less than 10% in P.E.I.