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.