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Jobs picture still dim for Canada's young

Student Victor Toma fills in a form backdropped by other clients searching for jobs on computer stations at employment agency Manpower Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, April 25, 2012.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

The percentage of young people with a job this June has fallen to match record lows recorded since Statistics Canada began collecting this kind of data 35 years ago.

This June's employment rate for students aged 20 to 24 marks a return to state of the student job market in June 2009, when the students were hard hit by the economic downturn.

The unemployment rate for this demographic is 13 per cent, compared with the overall unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent.

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Younger students, aged 17 to 19, have it even worse: 17.3 per cent of them are unemployed, a 3.5 per cent increase compared with last year. For these students, the impending cost of university or college weighs heavily.

As post-secondary tuitions climb and the percentage of college and university students taking on and graduating with debt rises, a summer job is becoming more and more important just as one becomes harder to find.

Undergraduate tuition in Canada has risen more than 200 per cent since 1991 and averaged $5,366 a year in 2011-2012. Students in Ontario pay the highest tuition. Fifty seven per cent of post-secondary students graduated with student debt in 2005, compared to 49 per cent a decade earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

Data on student employment is collected from May to August each year. Statistics Canada collects the information from people aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and intend to return to school full time in the fall.

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