Help wanted

By Leonardo Tovar

Finally, there is good news for students: the economy is rebounding from its depressing performance in 2009, which seems to be having an effect in the labour market.

According to Statistics Canada, gross domestic product rose an inflation-adjusted 0.6 per cent from December 2009 to January 2010. What’s more, economists at Scotiabank’s Global Economic Research unit expect a domestic GDP increase of 3.2 per cent in 2010. This type of economic growth far outstrips other industrialized nations, especially those represented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is only projected to grow by 1.9 per cent on average this year.

Although the media often refers to a “jobless recovery” in the United States, that is not the case in Canada. Employment rose by 20,900 in February, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.2 per cent, a 10-month low. Although part-time employment decreased by 39,300 jobs, full-time positions expanded by 60,200.

However, below the surface, most employment gains were for men over the age of 55. Those aged 15 to 24 experienced an increase in the unemployment rate from 15.1 to 15.2 per cent thanks to a shed of 4,200 jobs.

But things will get rosier. GDP growth was mostly boosted by goods-producing industries, such as construction and manufacturing, two sectors in which students tend to partake during the summer break. Construction grew 1.7 per cent in February, significantly helped by a 4 per cent increase in the residential building sector. Manufacturing was up 1.9 per cent. Increases in other industries such as retail, finance and insurance, transportation and the public sector also occurred in February.

Most importantly, the energy sector, the backbone of Alberta’s economy, is on the rise. With crude oil prices at a 17-month-high $85 per barrel and a lower-than-anticipated conventional oil royalties scheme, Calgary seems set to start riding another wave of economic boom in 2010.

So, start dusting off your resumes and begin to polish your interview skills because whether you’re a new grad or looking for seasonal employment, this summer promises a better labour market than last year’s.