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Canada’s youth unemployment rate dropped to 10.3 per cent in September, but the decrease doesn’t equal what it suggests.

More youth aren’t getting jobs. They’re leaving the workforce and going (or returning) to school, with 56 per cent of Canadian youth enrolled full-time.

Does more education increase their employability upon graduation, or delay the inevitability of another painful job search? Already, Canada boasts one of the most educated populations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

And why are youth returning to school? Is it to increase their employability, or take advantage of rising tuition grants to delay adulthood?

As Canadian youth exit the workforce, the youth unemployment rate remains almost twice the national average. When they re-enter, the figure could reach double if youth employability doesn’t improve.

Today, there is a skills gap between employers’ needs and graduates’ abilities.

And a second, more alarming disparity – a knowledge gap. How will Canada close the skills gap between what employers require and what graduates can provide, if it can’t identify either ends of the spectrum?

How can Canada narrow and eliminate the looming skills gap if it can’t measure the size of the disparity?

Like members of the Conference Board of Canada discuss, decreasing youth unemployment and ensuring young people are getting jobs requires the collaboration of the public and private sectors. It’s in the best interests of our country’s leading employers to develop a steady stream of incoming qualified talent, beneficial for post-secondary institutions to maintain the value of enrollment, and imperative for our government to recognize these employers’ needs, and those of our youth, to restore Canada’s socioeconomic well-being.

Employment rate: number of employed people as a percentage of the population aged 15 and older. The rate for a particular group (for example, youths aged 15 to 24) is the number employed in that group as a percentage of the population for that group.

Unemployment rate: number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (employed and unemployed).

Source: Statistics Canada