Windsor youth struggle with 22 per cent unemployment rate

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CBC News

As bad as Windsor's unemployment rate has been in recent years, youth in the southern Ontario city are suffering even more when it comes to trying to find work.

The youth unemployment rate sat at a staggering 22 per cent in January, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. Those numbers are up from last year when the jobless rate averaged 19.9 per cent.

Windsor unemployment rate down to 9.3%, but tops in Canada

Employment experts call those figures staggering when considering the general unemployment rate for Windsor sits at 9.3 per cent.

"That is more than double the general unemployment rate," said Tanya Antoniw, executive director at Workforce WindsorEssex. "That demonstrates that youth are experiencing additional barriers connecting to the labour force."

Job creation

With so few jobs available in the city, many young residents have started their own businesses.

Ben Magri, 20, recently opened Gray Wolf Pest Control and has seen early success, but starting a company on his own hasn't been easy.

"You're pretty much doing everything. You're doing the sales, you're doing the work, you're answering the phones, you're trying to do the bookkeeping and everything," he said. "It's really hard. It's something where you're working all day round and you just kinda gotta power through it and that's what I've been trying to do."

There are many others in Windsor looking to become their own boss, according to staff at the Small Business Centre. The group, which is part of Windsor's economic development corporation, has seen an increasing number of people looking to start their own business.

"I think you're seeing a trend, a significant shift perhaps in the attitudes and mindsets of young people who maybe are not finding opportunities in traditional employment," said Sabrina Demarco, director of small business development at the small business centre. "And they are looking at self-employment, entrepreneurship as a way to kind of get experience and pursue what they want."

The centre launched a program called Starter Company last year, which gives out grants to entrepreneurs under 30 years old. More than 50 grants have been given out so far.

Aadel Haleem