Jobs, jobs, jobs: Redux

My column today in the TJ talked about the potential of wooing NB’s diaspora back to the province to work and build their careers.  I wrote it before the latest labour market report showing more declines in the province’s workforce.  I got an email this morning asking for reconciliation.

First, when I write that there was positive interprovincial migration to Fredericton and Moncton in the past two years – that doesn’t include the current year.  In addition, that is not a province-wide statistic.  For NB as a whole interprovincial migration is negative – and according to the first three quarters of data in 2012 will be negative again.

However, I do maintain that places like Moncton, SJ and Fredericton can attract back the diaspora – particularly those in the 30s and early 40s – if there are jobs here for them (or entrepreneurial opportunity).  I am not suggesting the tens of thousands that have left will all come back – but a small portion might and I talk about several cases in my column.

We need to attract investment into industries with growth potential.  That investment will create good paying jobs and those jobs will be filled by NBers, expats and immigrants.

I think the biggest mistake over the last two years has been our failure to recognize the fundamental weakness in the economy.  I and others have pointed it out but broadly it didn’t seem to take hold.  You can’t cut a couple of hundred million out of public spending at the same time your big capital projects are winding up and not expect it to have a negative impact.

2013 will probably continue to be weak – it’s hard to say how weak – but there isn’t much on the horizon to boost GDP in any significant way.

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4 Responses to Jobs, jobs, jobs: Redux

  1. mikel says:

    Sorry, I don’t understand what ‘negative interprovincial migration’ means.

  2. We have to quit trying to lure back “the diaspora”. The people who immigrate here from other places are perfectly good residents, not second class citizens. The province should focus on new immigration, to infuse some badly-needed new ideas and new perspectives.

    We lost almost 3,000 people this year, almost wiping out the gains from the last few years. It’s time for a change in strategy (perhaps going back to the Graham-era tactics, which were low but at least worked). Same-old same-old isn’t the answer here.

    As for “attracting investment,” it would be nice if we could attract the sort of investment that does not result in plant shutdowns and job losses.

    If we really want to stimulate the economy of this province, we should redistribute income to the poorest, not the wealthiest. For then we could at least be sure they would spend the money in the province, driving economic activity, rather than stashing the money in some account in the Caymans.

  3. The only way to attract people to New Brunswick is to have a strong economy with good paying jobs. Whether it is former residents that have gone out West or new immigrants from abroad is irrelevant. It may be easier to attract former residents due to existing family ties, friends and previous familiarity with NB.

    David you’ve been pounding the drum for a long time. What we need is a strong economy with high paying jobs to attract people. Arguments about a supposed “quality of life” here don’t mean much compared to a high wage job with opportunities for growth.

    While gov’t spending (actually deficit spending) has stemmed the tide somewhat for the last few years, it isn’t sustainable without some hefty tax increases.

  4. mikel says:

    That’s a bit of a catch 22, and also not quite exactly true Danny. For example, Ontario was the first place in North American to legalize gay marriage, and in the first couple of years there was a huge influx of tourist dollars. During that time the Gay Pride celebrations really took off and now is a multi multi million dollar business in Toronto (gay weddings don’t bring much anymore because so many states legalized it and its usually pretty small wedding parties).

    Amsterdam became a mecca when it legalized pot, and many counties in Nevada when they legalized prostitution. In Stratford Ontario the Shakespeare ‘festival’ has turned the town into a six month event and turned the town into a boutique.

    As David has commented on variously, Ireland got a huge boost when it announced no royalties on artistic works. Sometimes those cases don’t work though, and Ireland lost a lot of that business when the tax was re-imposed.

    There are LOTS of reasons why people locate or re-locate. Many jobs are done ‘online’ or are artistic in nature and done anywhere, so there is certainly a chance to get people to re-locate if an effort is made. Fatkat had a lot of workers from Toronto who absolutely loved Miramichi, and hated to leave.

    Either way, BOTH of those groups are about to find itharder since Harper has made it easier to bring in temporary foreign workers. I know of at least two mid sized NB companies who bought cabins and basically house and feed their workers on site. These people have no labour rights, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it turned out many OWED money for rent and board even after they are paid.

    And anybody that may think this is GOOD for anybody should do some research on Alberta. Many mexican organizations have sprung up to warn people about the poor working conditions, lack of housing, and little money they receive in going to work as temporary workers, and thats in a RICH province.

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