Data Check: University education still good recession insurance

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New Statistics Canada data reveals that a university education continues to insulate grads from economic shocks. However, grads are not immune to pressures in the labour market—the number of workers with a university degree grew faster than the number of employed university graduates.
An earlier edition of Data Check reported on Canadian and international evidence showing that people with a postsecondary education experienced lower rates of unemployment during the Great Recession than those who did not. The latest fact sheet from Statistics Canada looks at employment levels by educational attainment before, during and after the worst of the economic crisis.
It is not a surprise that a university education proved to be the best insurance. Although the total number of employed in Canada rose to a new peak in 2011, the number of employed with a high school diploma but without a post-secondary credential actually declined by 1.8 per cent. In Ontario, their numbers rose by 0.1 per cent. The number of employed university degree holders rose by 8.8 per cent in Canada. In Ontario, the increase was more modest – 6.9 per cent.
However, since 2008, the Canadian population grew faster than the increase in the number of employed. This means that employment rates are lower after the worst of the crisis than they were before the downturn began. A national increase of 10.7 per cent in the number of working age Canadians with a university degree offsets the 8.8 per cent increase in employment and results in a 1.8 per cent decline in the employment rate for university grads. The number of Ontarians with a university degree grew by 8.9 per cent, two percentage points higher than the growth in the number of employed graduates.
Source: Statistics Canada, Economic Downturn and Educational Attainment

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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