We all know where Fraser is coming from but they do put together some interesting comparative data. This is their latest review of North American labour markets.

I was actually impressed with New Brunswick’s ranking of 43rd out of 60 states and provinces on the broad labour market index. However, some of the sub indices give me serious cause for concern:

NB rans 56th out of 60 provinces/states for the percentage of the workforce employed by the provincial/local public sector. 53rd for unionization and 56th for flexibility of labour relations laws. Why does a poor province like New Brunswick have the most inflexible labour relations laws?

We have the third highest unemployment rate in North America.

We rank 7th for “average duration of unemployment” (which incidentially helps bring NB up to the 43rd ranking overally). Fraser lists this as a good thing because people are unemployed for smaller durations. However, read their own analysis. They say that seasonal employment is driving these good rankings. How many of you out there believe that New Brunswick’s very high ratio of seasonal jobs is a good thing?

We are second last in North America for “Average GDP per worker”. Alabama’s is $99,614. New Brunswick’s is $72,365 (both in Canadian dollars). The average GDP per worker in NB is 21% lower than in Alabama.

I still have Lizzy Weir’s snappy intonation from the mid 1990s in my head. “If we don’t stop them, this Liberal government will turn New Brunswick into Alabama North”.