The Bull Meter: Michael Ignatieff on youth unemployment

The worst level in a generation? Think again.


[mac_quote person=”Michael Ignatieff” date=”April 11, 2011″]Young Canadians face other challenges – including the worst level of joblessness in a generation[/mac_quote]

[mac_bull score=”2″]

Michael Ignatieff is exaggerating here. The unemployment rate among 15 to 24 year-olds has been hovering around 14.4 per cent for the first three months of this year. It’s by no means a rosy picture, but the figure is significantly down from where it stood at the peak of the recession in 2009: an annualized rate of 15.2 per cent. Even that, though, was not extraordinarily bad by historical standards: youth unemployment hit 16.3 per cent in 1997, and reached an annualized rate of 17.2 per cent during the early 1990s economic crisis. Joblessness among the young was also considerably worse during the economic downturn of the early 1980s, when it hit 19.2 per cent in 1983.

Heard something that doesn’t sound quite right? Send quotes from the campaign trail to macbullmeter@gmail.com and we’ll tell you just how much bull they contain.


Statistics Canada: The Daily, Feb. 4, 2011

Statistics Canada: The Daily, Mar. 11, 2011

Statistics Canada: Labour Force Survey (March 2011)


The Bull Meter: Michael Ignatieff on youth unemployment

  1. A 'generation' is 20 years.

  2. Maybe we need to define "a generation", is that 20 yrs, 30 yrs?

  3. Who picks the pictures for these articles, not only yourselves but for all media. You seem to pick some poor ones , of all the leaders.

  4. Here it makes sense to measure a generation as the nine years between 15 and 24, because those are the figures they're using. So any year afterabout 2001 is probably fair game.

    On the other hand Ignatieff didn't sepcify his time frame, and it may very well be reasonable to include those high years of 2009 in his statement, not measured against his statement.

  5. It's usually considered to be 20 years, which means we don't compare the 80's to now.

    He said 'in a generation'…so that would be one generation.

    For some reason people are treating ordinary remarks as legal documents any more.

  6. I stand by my statement.

  7. That's nice, wear a sweater.

  8. Why is this not five bulls? The statement is completely false. if you count a generation as 20 years, then the rate was higher in:

    It was lower in:

    If you go back even further, the rate was higher in:
    and lower in:

    In other words, it is lower now than in the previous two years, and it is lower now than it was for 10 of the last 19 years, or 15 of the last 29 years. In other words, it's at a level below average for the last generation!

    Below average!! Therefore, the statement is not true in any way, shape, or form! So how is it not 5 bulls? The bull meter is bullsh*t.

  9. Not only that, the statement is insulting to someone like me who personally experienced the worst youth unemployment in the last generation, which happened to be in 1996/7! That just happened to be right smack dab in the middle of 11 years of uninterrupted Liberal governments!

  10. This statement unintentionally underlines another issue besides how a generation is measured – the length of time meant in "the worst level of joblessness"

  11. If what you mean by "worst" is in fact "better than average"! By most measures, it's better than average!

    But there is no length of time you could choose to measure a "generation", not any length of time from 1 to 30, in which the unemployment level now is worst!

  12. You know, some of the press has objected to the recent claim that the Liberals get an easy-go. Journalists like Norman Spector, John Ibbitson and others have recently directly said there is a double standard when it comes to fact checking or coverage of the things said by Liberals vs the things said by Conservatives (or NDP).

    And then you see a big, whopping, complete and total flat-out lie by Ignatieff like this one, and it's given a score of 2 bulls out of 5? I don't know why Erica Alini has decided to give Ignatieff an easy go on this one, essentially a pass, essentially failing to call out what is a complete and total falsehood, but there's no doubt that she has.

    The Conservatives deserve credit for having the best unemployment numbers in the G7 since the recession hit, and yet Ignatieff is allowed to sputter lies like this one that insinuate the opposite. And this is supposed to be called fact-checking, this series of blog entries?

  13. Emily,
    Where did you come up with the 20 years gem?
    Normally a generation is considered to be in the 25 to 30 year range.

  14. Of topic here.
    i note in the promises tracker MacLeans has omitted the Liberal proposal to immediately implement their cap and trade promise. This is the biggest and largest tax increase by far.

  15. It's been the standard for eons…..from the birth of one child to the birth of the next generation.

    It varies from culture to culture, so they went with 20 years.

  16. Who cares! The important thing is if his lie is better than the Harper lies. He needs to be more of a bully and less of an egghead.

    Totally unrelated: The whole anti-bullying mania sweeping TDSB masks a certain lack of focus on the part of the admin. That seems to me to be more important than the difference between 13 and 14 percent.

  17. Given that the average age of women having their first child in Canada is 30 years old, I think it would be safe to say that a generation in Canada is a lot longer than 20 years.

  18. As I said it varies from culture to culture….in some, 14 year olds are having babies.

    It's why they took 20 as a general standard.

  19. True, but Emily is right that a generation is usually considered to span about 20 years. Think Boomers, X and Y… what are the usual year-spans for them? Going back to 1983 is smack in the middle of my university years, and I'm a tail-end Boomer. Definitely more than a generation-span on that stat.

  20. Layton is on fire in Quebec and he's gaing support. When this thing is over the Liberals may be reduced to 30 seats in Toronto and a few others.Justin Trudeau is likely toast.

  21. Really? I remember Ignatieff making this statement once in the debate and I dismissed it more or less as typical political rhetoric.

    On the flipside Harper lied over and over about allegations against his party while repeatedly making fraudulent claims about respected Canadian organizations suppourting his policies and budget. Has anything been said of this?

    They are politicians, rhetoric is their stock and trade… we expect everything they say to be a lie, but its a whole different animal for them put their lies in the mouths of respectable Canadians.

  22. In case you didn't notice, this bull-meter blog is supposed to do fact-checking. If a statement is 100% false, then it should be given 5 bulls, at least that's what I would expect. Instead it got 2, insinuating that it's closer to the truth than it is to falsehood.

  23. Trudeau gone – that would almost make the election worthwhile – lol

  24. Should have been five bulls together stepping in a pile of it!!

  25. This statement is closer to true. As commented above, a lot of the earlier years they mention are not part of this same "generation." As for comparing 2009. what everyone here seems to be failing to realize is that it's the same people now who are without a job as those who were without a job in 2008. Further, this long-term unemployment is acutally what makes this the worst youth unemployment in a generation. This is a very serious problem right now and has been for the last few years; I'm not sure that people who either aren't in this age group or don't have children in this age group are really aware of what is going on in the marketplace.

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