Unemployment is currently at 8 percent in Quebec and a serious problem in small cities and towns. The unemployment rate is higher compared to provinces such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and British Columbia. The rate has declined substantially in Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario but is still higher than the Prairies and Ontario.
Small cities such as Saguenay have a high unemployment rate of 8.2 percent while places such as Quebec City have a healthy and performing labor market. New jobs are mainly created in the public services and services sectors, including healthcare, education, tourism, and commerce. Naturally, there are more job openings in large cities than in small towns and rural and remote areas. Reports show stagnation in the production sectors and services, including insurance, technical, scientific, and professional. There is also a significant slowdown in the construction industry which is mainly due to a weak residential market compared to previous years.
Higher unemployment in small cities and towns means social problems, lower socio-economic status, financial problems, bad credit, credit card debt, and debt consolidation (read more). Unemployed residents are more likely to fall into a spiral of debt, and they usually have a history of repossessions, bankruptcy, maxed out cards, and missed and late payments (read more). The reason is that unemployment in small cities and towns is an ongoing problem, which affects younger persons with less experience the most. They face the highest rate of unemployment, especially in the 15 – 19 age group. The rate follows fluctuations and trends in adult unemployment but has been up to twice as high over the years. It also varies based on educational level and is the lowest among university graduates and persons with post-secondary education. Persons in the 45 – 65 age group traditionally face the highest unemployment rate. There are serious consequences linked to higher unemployment rates, including less consumption, drained retirement savings, high debt to income ratio, and children being denied educational opportunities. Prolonged unemployment is a problem in particular, resulting in poor mental and physical health and serious financial problems. What is more, persons who are unemployed and knee-deep in debt see their loan applications denied when they need urgent cash. The reason is that they are regarded as less trustworthy and high risk. Persons who are denied credit may be unable to meet urgent expenses such as hospital and medical bills, medications, and utility bills such as gas, water, and electricity (read more). Persons who are unable to pay utility bills often face gas and electricity arrears and are in a serious trouble. They may even see their utilities shut off. This can happen due to a variety of reasons such as an increase in utility rates, unexpected expenses, and harsh weather, but lack of regular income is a major culprit to blame, especially in small cities.
Obviously, unemployment can be a serious life event that affects loved ones and the wider community. It can have long-lasting effects beyond affecting your standard of living. The prospects of the next generation are often damaged due to long-term unemployment. The costs paid by society include community support, health, and income support costs, and the end result is more money for social assistance, reduction in human capital, and lost opportunities for personal growth.