The Alward jobs record: Not good

The record on job creation for New Brunswick Premier David Alward — fighting for re-election right now — has been rotten. (KRIS SIMS/Sun News Network)

Campaigning with Justin Trudeau on the weekend, New Brunswick Liberal Leader Brian Gallant told reporters, “The plan of David Alward and the Conservatives is not at all concrete. When you look at their record on job creation, since 2010 we’ve lost 3,900 jobs.”

Not true.

It’s actually much worse. The province has lost 4,800 jobs since 2010. (I’m assuming that when Gallant says “since 2010” he means, “since the September 2010 election that Alward won”)

The jobs record on Alward’s watch is rotten. Consider this stat alone: For every three jobs in agriculture in the province when Alward was elected, there are just two jobs now.

While the population of New Brunswick has increased, the size of the labour force has dropped, the labour force participation rate has dropped, the number of full-time jobs has dropped, and the unemployment rate is up.

Sole bright-spot? The number of part-time jobs is up.

Here’s the scorecard, comparing Statistics Canada data from September 2010 to the most recent StatsCan data for the province, of July, 2014.

  • Population has grown by 2,500 or 0.4%
  • Labour force (total number of employed people plus all unemployed people) has shrunk by 4,500 or 1.15%
  • Total number of full-time jobs is down by 6,800 or 2.28%
  • The unemployment rate when Alward took office was 9.8% . It is at 10% now.

Is the recent trend line, at least, moving up? Not really. While the unemployment rate one year ago — in  July 2013 — was 10.1% compared to 10% now, that’s only becuase the labour force has shrunk significantly.   There both fewer full-time jobs (-0.34%) and part-time jobs (-0.52%) now than 12 months ago.

So where have the job losses been? Again, comparing the most recent month — July 2014 — to the month Alward took over — Sept. 2010:

  • As I mentioned above,  the agriculture sector has been hardest hit with 32% fewer jobs, a drop of 1,700 jobs.
  • The number of people working in public utilities has dropped by 27% of 1,200 jobs.
  • Transportation and warehousing jobs are down 3,100 or 17%.
  • Like the rest of the country, manufacturing jobs are much more scarce. Since Alward’s election, 3,700 manufacturing jobs have been lost, a decline of 13%.
  • Forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas jobs are down by 7% or 800 jobs.
  • Construction is down by 9% or 2,600 jobs.
  • Public administration jobs are down by 1,500 or 6%.

There have been some sectors that have shown job growth during four years of the PC government.

  • The number of people working in accommodation and food services is up 4,100 or 20%.
  • The number of people working in professional, scientific and technical services is up 16% or 2,600.
  • Business, building and other support services is up 7% or 1,200 jobs.
  • Educational services has 1,600 more workers, up 6.3%.
  • Jobs in what Statscan calls “Trade” are up 1,400 positions or 2.5
  • Health care and social assistance jobs are up 800 or 1.6%

There will be one final “report card” for the Alward government’s job creation record before New Brunswickers vote on Sept. 22. That will be be released on Friday, Sept. 5.


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