NB and NS: We’re all in this together (employment stagnation)

The teeny bopper movie that was so popular a few years ago called High School Musical featured a catchy song called “We’re all in this together”.  This could be the theme song for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The chart below shows employment growth in the two provinces from September 2005 to September 2014 (on a seasonally adjusted basis).  I show it as an index but it really means Alberta’s employment has grown by 25% and Nova Scotia by 2%.  An index allows me to display my economic bona fides.

The two provinces have witnessed virtually no employment growth over the nine year period. Note that PEI has started to pull away from NS and NB.  The Island is by no means booming but a strong focus on immigration and the growth of a few key sectors such as biosciences is showing up in the numbers.



The interesting thing to me is that this doesn’t seem to bother a lot of folks and, in fact, I get emails suggested we should “get used to it” and it is the “new normal” and even “it’s a good thing”.

Maybe.  I don’t claim to have all the answers but I see a long, difficult period ahead for this province if we don’t get population and employment growth back to at least a moderate growth position.


2 thoughts on “NB and NS: We’re all in this together (employment stagnation)

  1. David for those that tel you that it’s the new normal I would suggest that they are completely missing the boat with a very simplistic view of things. They don’t ask the deeper question and they have in essence given up on how to address it.

    The recession has pulled back many vales on our economy, the structural issue is clear in my mind.

    Our domestic companies are not growing, they are not gaining market share or developing new markets fast enough. The result is that they are not creating net new positions. Employment and unemployment right now is almost all churn within the existing positions.

    The question we need to ask is why. It need to be answered with facts, not with opinions.

    That’s the conversation we should be having right now, that’s the conversation we should have had five years ago when the reality hit us in the face.

  2. Population is an issue. New Brunswick tends to focus too much on people who were born here. We need to be looking toward new immigrants rather than simply retaining or repatriating people. We should be investigating how we can help in relocating refugees or attracting immigrants seeking economic opportunity. The mere presence of such people brings money into the province, and they in turn will generate more production and revenue.

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