Maybe I’m just paranoid but I am starting to think New Brunswick’s lost decade could be emerging as our destiny.
A few weeks ago the national organization that forecasts agricultural demand came out with its forecast for the next decade and determined New Brunswick wasn’t going to have much of a problem with agricultural labour because the workforce would be declining. Now I read the national construction labour market forecaster, BuildForce, is also predicting no virtually no growth in construction employment over the next decade. A while ago I asked the provincial government for the forecast for information technology (IT) workers – and, surprise, no growth expected through 2027.
What the heck is going on? Agriculture is a bright spot – with significant GDP growth in recent years. The Premier is talking about a massive apple farm that will serve European markets. Construction should track to GDP and if the Premier is right and we get back to 2% growth and 10,000 immigrants per year… Oh, that’s it.
This is the problem with forecasts. They can be self-fulfilling prophesies. It looks like everyone is starting to bake in 0.5% GDP growth with weak population growth in their forecast models. Even the province’s forecast through 2027 predicts almost no net growth in the labour market.
I can tell you this. You will not get 2% GDP growth without growth in the labour market.
It’s time to revise our forecasts and have a little ambition.
If we are expecting mediocrity, surprise, we just might get mediocrity.