Unemployment is #UNIGNORABLE

Unemployment is #UNIGNORABLE

People living in low-income are the most vulnerable to employment loss, unemployment and under-employment. Many face barriers to employment such as limited education levels, high costs of transportation, lack of childcare, and a lack of required job skills.

Last year, more than 68,000 people were unemployed in Edmonton.

Unfavorable economic conditions due to factors such as low oil prices have had a detrimental effect on the local unemployment rate. At 6.6 per cent, Edmonton’s unemployment rate is above the national average and last year was at its highest since 1996 according to the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Tracking the Trends 2018 report.

In a recent survey of Edmonton Food Bank clients, 78 per cent reported being unemployed. Forty-five per cent of clients who reported being unemployed had been out of work for more than three years. Of those who were working almost 60 per cent had only part time, casual or seasonal work.

Seven out of 10 respondents indicated their income as being less than $25,000. More than half of respondents reported that they would not need the food bank if they could increase their income by $500 a month.


Thanks to the help of donors, United Way invests in programs and initiatives that focus on increasing an individual’s capacity to obtain and retain employment that provides for basic economic security. This includes programs to increase employment readiness for those over represented in poverty, such as Indigenous populations, newcomers and women. United Way also supports employment opportunities for youth and people with disabilities.

Helping individuals and families attain employment, boost their household income through higher wages and government benefits, increase their savings, invest in their children’s future, and access mainstream banking are effective ways to make sure everyone in our community thrives. Examples of United Way supported services addressing these issues include linkage to education savings and bonds programs, literacy and math tutoring, language and computer classes, resume support, and providing equipment such as work boots.

Additionally, United Way works collaboratively to advance systems and policy change to promote a sustainable income for individuals.

Learn more about United Way’s work.

Zoe was struggling to find employment until she connected with a United Way program that helped her unlock new opportunities. Click below to see Zoe’s story.