Watch out for manufacturing

Another warning sign about the New Brunswick economy was published yesterday but, as usual, the local paper was too busy crowing about the positive growth in Moncton to notice. Statistics Canada published their monthly survey of manufacturing shipments. This is an estimate of the total value of manufactured goods shipped from the provinces. This is particularly important for New Brunswick as our economy is one of the most dependant on exports in Canada. From September 2001 to September 2004, the value of manufacturing shipments from New Brunswick increased by 13.2% – the second worst growth rate in Canada during that three year timeframe. And with the winding down of mines and closure of mills, this trend will undoubtedly increase. Obviously the new Molson Plant in Moncton and the previously announced Irving diaper plant will help but I think its important to point out that if we are in the middle of a overall decline in our manufacturing and producing sectors, we had better have a plan to replace those jobs with something else.