New Brunswick’s changing employment picture: Four year snapshot
The month over month labour force survey is helpful in showing recent trends in the employment situation but a slightly longer term view is a more accurate representation of how things are changing.
The following charts show the change in total employment in each of the main regions of New Brunswick by industry from May 2008 to May 2012. The data is based on a 3-month-moving-average (not seasonally adjusted).
For New Brunswick as a whole, public administration, education and health care were the main sectors growing jobs over the four year period – along with construction. It is unlikely that any of these will be big job creators in the next few years.
In the Saint John-St. Stephen region, employment is down slightly over the four year period with the goods sector declining in total employment while the services sector added 1,500 jobs. Unlike some other regions, Saint John has not witnessed a big rise in public sector employment – indeed education and health care have witnessed declines. That likely means SJ is less vulnerable to public sector employment cuts in the next few years. The big growth in FIRE jobs along with other services (mostly personal services) caused the overall services sector growth – not sure how much more room to grow there is in the other services sector as this represents a 64% increase in just four years.
Saint John-St. Stephen, New Brunswick 
Edmundston-Woodstock continues to see employment declines but the services sector has actually been adding jobs over the four years. However, it looks like this region could be vulnerable to public sector employment cuts too as it saw a strong growth in public administration and health care jobs in the past four years. There was a big spike in trade-related jobs (retail/wholesale) in the past four years in this region.
Edmundston-Woodstock, New Brunswick 
Freddy and environs shed some jobs in the past four years – mostly in the region’s already small manufacturing sector. In the entire region, there are now only an estimated 2,100 people working in manufacturing (at least in May). Solid growth in information, culture and rec. jobs as well as public administration, health care and education. For some reason, Freddy saw a steep drop in trade-related jobs over the four years. Freddy is also vulnerable to any declines in the construction sector.
Fredericton-Oromocto, New Brunswick 
Moncton-Richibucto added nearly 9,000 jobs over the four year period with growth in the goods sector and in services. However, the region is likely vulnerable to public sector austerity (witness the announced federal job cuts) as it has added 5,400 public sector jobs (p.a., health and education) in the past four years. The region saw a nice boost in FIRE jobs as well. Any big retrenchment in construction will hit the Moncton region hard.
Moncton-Richibucto, New Brunswick 
Ever since the big mill closures in the Campbellton-Miramichi region, the area has been losing jobs. The area lost an estimated 10,000 jobs from May 08 t May 12 with the services sector driving the decline. As we have talked about before, losing the large anchor employers leads to declines in the broader SME intensive economy which eventually leads to lower population and less need for public services. The employment rebound in the goods-producing sector (up 1,900) jobs is a ray of light here as it could be pointing to a rebound which will staunch the decline in service jobs.
Campbellton-Miramichi, New Brunswick 
Here is the Campbellton-Miramichi employment data going back to May 2002. You see a steep drop in manufacturing – much of this in wood products – between 2002 and 2008 and a lag in the drop in the services sector.