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March 15, 2022

Youths going en masse to Alberta, Sask. for work: report

The way the world used to work was simple. People followed the money; they flocked to where they could get rich.

Indeed, such a theory’s most notable example must be the gold rush of the 1800s, the finding of the precious metal in central California almost single-handedly booming San Francisco’s population some 30,000 per cent between 1847 and 1870.

Yet unlike years past, people group today not where they can get rich, but where they can find any pay at all.

And it starts with our youths, who are being forced into a new great migration in pursuit of something much more modest than gold: a job.

According to a new feature from the Star’s Alyshah Hasham, the economy’s effects haven’t only been felt in stock portfolios and chequing accounts but in geography, too.

*Bing: Who is part of ‘Generation Y’?

Canada’s youths are heading west and east, in the chase of work, like never before.

In Ontario, where the unemployment rate for youths soars above where it lies in other provinces, about 100,000 people left between 2003 and 2010, half of them belonging to Generation Y, notes Serge Coulombe, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa.

Most of these Gen Yers, which surely plenty of youths you know have done as well, are heading to places like Alberta and Saskatchewan, where youth unemployment rates are far below the national 14.7 per cent.

It makes sense, of course – where the jobs go, so do the people – but it’s intriguing to note just how sensitive migration patterns are with relation to employment. By figures from Stats Canada in 2008, as the unemployment rate rises by one percentage point, that region’s probability of people migrating away similarly jumps by 10 per cent.

Young people, then, few with children and mortgages and ironclad reasons to stay at home, are the ones moving for work – a nationwide shift in population happening right before our eyes.

Would you move cross-country for work? Or, if you have kids, would you encourage they consider the same?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

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The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...