City’s summer employment numbers misleading

Gord Fuller — July 21, 2010
To the Editor, Nanaimo News Bulletin

The fact that unemployment in Nanaimo dropped from nine per cent to eight per cent in June may not be cause for jubilation.

Generally, an increase in employment takes place during the summer, though these are primarily low-paying service based jobs with little likelihood of permanency.

Still there are no real statistics to say an increase in employment in Nanaimo is the reason for the decrease and so perhaps other reasons should be explored.

One reason might be apparent when looked at in conjunction to the rise of the vacancy rate in Nanaimo to 4.4 per cent in June. A correlation between the drop in unemployment and the rise in vacancy rates is not unfathomable and perhaps both are due simply to people leaving the community for better prospects elsewhere.

Then, of course you have those on EI whose claims may have run out and until they apply and are catalogued as income assistance recipients will be in limbo statistically. That is of course if they aren’t already among those who have migrated elsewhere.

One thing that is evident is the decrease to unemployment will have little or no effect on the endemic poverty that exists in the community.

As a service-based economy, Nanaimo is affected by lower wages and part-time employment, both of which affect the living standards of families

As summer wanes, the jobs created for the season will end and unemployment will climb in Nanaimo as it inevitably does.

Gordon W. Fuller

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