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
There does not seem to be any possibility that Nanaimo’s economic future will be any brighter than it currently is. In fact if you removed all payrolls in the public sector, Nanaimo would be pretty much a ghost town.
In fact I am not sure that the Province has a solid base for it’s economic future, in spite of all the benefits we are supposed to see from the HST. Although you would not be dealing with reality if you think a major business is going to chose BC over Ont. to set up a new shop. BC, like it or not, has a very poor reputation for it’s labour force. We are known as radically union, and not terribly productive.
Remove the public sector payroll, from the provincial economy, and perhaps BC would be pretty much a ghost province.
Locally, those in the service based sector are between a rock and a hard place. Housing prices have been steadily rising as a result of all the retired money which has moved here. Of course that just keeps on jacking up the rental fees as they walk in lock step with housing prices. The bright side of the rising vacancy rate is that rents should also be coming down as landlords compete for tenants.
Any young person wishing to support a family, would be hard pressed to not look at moving from BC generally, and Nanaimo in particular. Convention centers and cruise ships are not exactly grand economic generators. In fact you could probably argue they have had a negative effect on the local economy so far.
Well said though I think BC the best place in Canada to live. Soon to be in the papers; Nanaimo’s Income Assistance Rate jumps by 8% while elsewhere in the province it drops. BC needs to up its minimum wage to about $12.00 an hour, though with the economy the way it is the Liberal Gov’t will simply say it would further harm the economy. I believe that it would in fact help the economy but then hey what do I know. I also think Assistance rates should rise as well. With both there would be more income, taxes and spending.
When the economy was going guns (with not much sustainability built in) the Liberals said there was no need to increase the minimum wage. Nanaimo City Council called on the provincial government to increase it to $10 (2 or 3 years ago). But of course, nothing happened.
That was in February of 2007. Was a good idea at the time but I don’t think there was enough support for it by other communities. Unfortunately costs have risen since then for every aspect of living and now the HST is added to it all. I think $12.00 per hour would now be more appropriate. Who knows, if it is pushed for hard enough the Lib’s might actually raise it to $10.00.
Actually Gord, at the UBCM that year, the motion to urge the government to increase the minimum wage was passed by a huge majority. The government were simply ideologically opposed, no matter how much public support there was (and still is) for an increase.