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Future of Work

A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

Proof point: Students and new graduates are bearing the brunt of the labour market downturn

Key Takeaway
Students and new graduates account for half of the increase in Canada’s unemployment rate.


This RBC Economics research explores the drivers behind the recent growth in Canada’s unemployment rate.

Since April 2023, Canada’s unemployment rate has increased by 0.8 percentage points, a level typically associated with recessionary periods. However, unlike prior periods, the increase in unemployment has stemmed primarily from slower hiring of students and new graduates rather than from increased layoffs.

Students and new graduates have historically borne the brunt of declining labour markets. Their concentration in a few industries and their shorter tenures leave them more vulnerable to shocks.  

In the near term, students and newcomers will likely continue to face challenges as a result of the declining number of job openings.

January, 2024 | Ray, B., & Preston, V.
Key Takeaway: Challenges in Canada's housing market are hindering the integration and economic stability of immigrants and temporary migrants.
January, 2024 | Desormeaux, M., & Jean-Jacobs, F.
Key Takeaway: Labour shortages in the construction industry present an ongoing challenge that could be solved by immigration.
January, 2024 | The Daily
Key Takeaway: Immigrants who had Canadian work experience prior to admission saw increased wages post-COVID.
January, 2024 | Hou, F., & Picot, G.
Key Takeaway: Immigrants who enter Canada as temporary foreign workers or international students consistently out-earn those directly selected from abroad.
February, 2024 | Bérard-Chagnon, J., Hallman, S., Dionne, M-A., Tang, J., & St-Jean, B.
Key Takeaway: Canada needs policies to improve its retention of immigrants.
January, 2024 | Bagnoli, P., Matier, C., & Yan, X.
Key Takeaway: The income gap between recent immigrants to Canada and the Canadian median has diminished.
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