On population growth, maybe

It’s fun to watch the Population Secretariat report on the quarterly population numbers and talk about getting closer to that goal of a 6,000 person increase by the end of this year. According to the CBC report, they are close – 5,400 people.

“That puts us just under 400 people left to go to achieve that goal of 6,000 by the end of 2009, so certainly [it’s] very positive news,” said Brendan Langille, spokesman for the province’s Population Growth Secretariat.

We have the worst growth rate in the country and the spokesperson calls it “very positive news”. 

The other wild card that should force Mr. Langille to be a little careful is the “residual deviation” from the population estimates.  Check here for the recent adjustments.  Essentially the quarterly estimates are just that and have to be revised every few years.   The annual numbers have been revised downward every year since 1991.

The average downward adjustment per year since 1991 has been -905.  Assuming the same residual deviation continues, the province’s actual population growth since the Libs took power would be more like 2,700 persons and not 5,400. 

The point is that the province needs to be creating good paying jobs.  If it does that, the people will follow the jobs.  I’m not saying that there is no need to ‘work on population growth’ but without the jobs why does it matter?

5 thoughts on “On population growth, maybe

  1. Bang on David. No sense travelling around the world to promote moving to New Brunswick unless the jobs are here. Even if you do a great sales job and get people to come to NB, they won’t stay unless they relevant and fair paying jobs.

    Things have become over complicated with all these initiatives. It allows governments to point to actions and call them results. We attended X# of trade shows. I gave X# of speeches. We toured X# of people around the province.

    To further complicate things they/we have created a bunch of agencies with over lapping mandates so accountability is blurred. So, who really is responsible for economic development in Moncton? Is it Enterprise Greater Moncton? Is it BNB? Is it ACOA? Is it the City of Moncton Economic Office? Is it IRAP? Is it the NB Innovation Foundation? Is it RDC? Is it Downtown Momcton Inc? Is it the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce? Is it Moncton Industrial Development? You get my point. And this redundancy and overlap is repeated throughout the province making sure that there is confusion and lack of clear accountability. Ironically, there is so much duplication, every once and a while you hear someone proposing that the solution to producing some results is create yet another agency to provide “one-stop shopping”. These guys can keep themselves busy meeting with each other meanwhile we are losing focus on the main objective; attracting and growing companies that create good quality jobs.

    We need to consolidate, focus and develop an effective economic development strategy for New Brunswick; then start executing it. We are spending serious money on minor initiatives that produce marginal results at best.

  2. > We have the worst growth rate in the country and the spokesperson calls it “very positive news”.

    I don’t know why you’re snarking on their parade. Compared to a few years ago, when we were losing population every year, it is good news. Changing the direction of the trend is the most important thing; quibbling about numbers is petty.

  3. “The point is that the province needs to be creating good paying jobs. If it does that, the people will follow the jobs.”

    True, but we (meaning advocates and legislators of such things) shouldn’t get too caught up with the phrase or word “job.” If it were just about government fixing its policies and luring “jobs” with generous subsidy offers, we would have been a pretty good province to work and live in by now. However, that isn’t so.

    Anyway, I won’t go on ad nauseam about the same ol. same ol’ but I think it’s worth pointing out that we need to think outside the box when it comes to ED or attempts to strengthen the economic climate in NB. It would be nice to see a reworking of our social fabric so that we don’t concentrate so much on policies that cater to groups who are shrinking in numbers (the french and anglophones whose birthrates are down considerably). We need a new policy that emphasizes a “New” New Brunswick which is open to global expansion, not to mention, global immigration. Right now we’re close, but still a ways away on making our province tolerant and attractive to outsiders…or should I say newcomers. And until we do that, not a ad campaign in the world will change the reality of today without a new movement on the ground.

  4. Well, I’ve meet these population growth secretariate folks. Nice folks and all, but I’m not back in NB yet. No job home yet to convince me to move. When the Alberta salary with the NB quality of life is available, things might be more likely.

  5. You are exactly right on the point. I cannot see relying on immigrants is a long term solution. Immigrants come because of the fast track program in New Brunswick, but as soon as they get the landed document, they fled to other provinces. At least two things the NB government can do to attract more people:
    1. Competitive Jobs for NBers and immigrants
    2. Promoting the sense the belonging
    For an economy to grow, we need labor, capital and technology. As we learn from Solow, economic growth is contingent on the capital per labor. The trick is whether the NB government is precise enough on where to invest in local industries that can generate higher local productivity in certain sectors. Salary will then increase, people will stay and New Brunswick will become the next growth miracle in Canada.

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