Labour market report – Cliff Notes version

I love the monthly report out on jobs and employment from Statistics Canada. It usually gives me the fodder for my best blogs. Anyway, I am blogging from 9,000 miles away so it is more difficult than usual to serve up pithy stuff.

So, here is the cliff notes version:

Labour market report (out June 8):
New Brunswick is one of the only provinces to lose jobs month over month and continues to have a serious problem with a decline in the size of the labour force. In the past year (roughly the mandate of the new government), employment growth has been second worse among the 10 provinces in Canada and full time employment growth (you know, the jobs that are required to meet Self Sufficiency) has only been 0.1% compared to Nova Scotia’s 2.1% (20x greater).

So, what is the government’s response?

A firebrand declaration that New Brunswick must change its ways now and invest massively into economic development or the province risks its very future.

Ooops. No, wait. That was my response. The government’s response is exactly – almost to the word – the same as the previous government:

“I am pleased that our unemployment rate has remained in the seven point range for the fourth month in a row, and that New Brunswickers are showing confidence in our economy,” Doherty said. “Our government will continue to work hard each and every day to support a strong and vibrant workforce through our plan under the Charter for Change.”

A total of 361,000 New Brunswickers were working in the province in May which was up by 2200 from the same time last year. The unemployment rate stood at 7.8 per cent which was up slightly from last month but down by almost a full percentage point from the same time last year.

I don’t know the official media response because I don’t have access but I will take a guess:

T&T – Glowing reporting on Moncton with a cheese eating comment from Samuel LeBreton on how wonderful things are. Maybe a provincial government official talking about how the Prosperity Plan – oops – the Charter for Change – is working.

My concluding remark:

If you take the time to think about anything written in this blog, take time to consider my position on this.

A 7.8% unemployment rate, a stagnant or shrinking population, an increase in part time work and the decline in population of over 70% of our communities is a serious problem for New Brunswick. Serious. Every year we need more Equalization – not less – and the labour market data every month confirms we are sliding in a deeper hole.

The government bragging about a 7.8% unemployment rate while trying to stir up a ‘sense of urgency’ for ‘massive change’ is just leading to subterfuge and outright apathy among New Brunswickers.

People are still moving out of NB at record levels. Immigration is still virtually nothing and there is no new industry growth strategy that I can see.

If Doherty and the gang are using the sloppy seconds spin doctors left over from the Prosperity Plan they should be dumped, now. If they are using new spin doctors, they should be reprogrammed to view the monthly labour market reports and any other economic data that is published not as an occassion to spin out positive messaging while glossing over serious problems. They should view these golden nuggets in time as occassions to send out a strong and this is key consistent message about the need for serious change in economic development policy and investment.

Why is it the role of government to serve up this mindless drivel hoping that the media won’t scratch beneath the surface? The friggin’ pulp mill in the Miramichi is shut down and is in danger of complete closure. Pulpy press releases about how the Charter for Change is working does absolutely nothing. Nothing.