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Stefan Karlsson

Do Canada's non-Germanic speakers have higher unemployment?

In European countries where multiple languages are spoken, regions dominated by Germanic language speakers often have lower unemployment rates than non-Germanic areas. This pattern is not seen in similarly multilingual Canada, however.

By Guest blogger / July 10, 2012

Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley takes part in a news conference in Ottawa in this May 2012 file photo. Canada's Conservative government announced tighter rules for employment insurance on Thursday to try to deal with the anomaly of high unemployment alongside job shortages in certain areas.

Blair Gable/Reuters

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The other day, I noted that in bi- or multilingual countries in Europe like Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Finland regions that were dominated by Germanic languages Dutch, German and Swedish had far lower unemployment rates than those dominated by non-Germanic languages Italian, French and Finnish.

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Stefan is an economist currently working in Sweden.

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I now checked whether this held true in Canada, which though located in North America is also bilingual with one Germanic language, English, and one non-Germanic, French. It turns out that the link is far weaker, almost non-existent there.

While Canada's one majority French province, Quebec, had higher unemployment than the Canadian average, the difference was very small, 7.7% versus 7.2%. The other province with a significant French population, New Brunswick (33% French) had higher unemployment at 9.5%, but that is in fact lower than the other Atlantic provinces, New Foundland and Labrador, Prince Edward's Island and Nova Scotia.

The biggest differences instead exists between different English speaking provinces. The three "Mid Western" provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan  have unemployment rates around 5%, the three big states British Columbia, Ontario and French speaking Quabec have unemployment rates of 6.5% to 8% while the four Atlantic provinces have the highest unemployment rates, about 9.5% in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. about 11% in Prince Edward's Island and 13% in New Foundland and Labrador.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on stefanmikarlsson.blogspot.com.

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