The New Brunswick government was estatic this month when it was reported that the province would lead the country in GDP growth this year with a 0.9% increase. The latest labour force survey shows the government is a key factor in keeping the recession at bay.
Construction sector employment is up by over 20% (5000 people) July 2009 vs. July 2008. We know from other data sources that housing starts and commercial development is tepid so this increase is likely due entirely to government spending.
The public sector is up by almost 2,000 employees over last year.
The education sector (which is primarily government) is up by 20% (5,000 people).
That’s something like 12,000 jobs directly attributable to government spending – 7,000 of them on the government payroll.
Health care employment is actually down by 3,700 – I don’t know why.
That $750 million deficit is showing up in these numbers. Most, not all, economists approve of stimulative spending by government during a recession.
But we must get the focus back on private sector employment and investment. We have lost thousands of manufacturing and forestry jobs and you can’t replace them with public sector workers (admin, health and education).