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Older workers are taking part-time jobs, pushing up youth unemployment: report

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TORONTO - A new report suggests that a growing number of older workers are taking on part-time jobs, which in turn is pushing up the unemployment rate among teenaged students.

The CIBC World Markets report says the unemployment rate for students aged 15 to 18 who are seeking part-time work has climbed to a record high of more than 20 per cent.

The report also notes that employment among those in the 15-18 age group has fallen by 22 per cent since 2007 even though the overall population in that age group has declined by only four per cent.

Although Canada's unemployment rate has recovered from its peak during the recession, the report says the number of manufacturing and government jobs has been shrinking.

This decline in the availability of quality jobs is forcing many older Canadians to take work in the retail and food service sectors — jobs that traditionally would have been reserved for students.

The report notes that employment in kitchen help, retail sales and cashier positions has plummeted among those under 19, but soared for other age groups, including those 25 and over.

CIBC's chief economist Avery Shenfeld says this can pose a challenge for youth from lower income households, who may need the cash from part-time work to save for their post-secondary education.

"Some might dismiss the absence of student jobs as no big deal," said Shenfeld.

"True, there's less foregone income than in the loss of full-time adult positions. But student jobs are not just about being able to splurge for designer jeans. For lower income, single-parent households, those extra dollars can be material."

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