By David Archibald
Feb. 14, 2012
A new Statistics Canada survey released last week showed that P.E.I.’s unemployment rate is up to 12.2 per cent, up one per cent from last year.
The report has the province’s opposition party calling for the creation of more jobs.
Stratford MLA James Aylward said he was alarmed, but not surprised, by the numbers.
“If we look at the job creation trends of this present government, it’s no secret why
our numbers would be as high as they are right now,” said the Progressive Conservative.
“You look at Souris for instance, where there was two fish processing plants allowed to just shut down without actually sitting down and working through whatever issues may have been there.
” When you have a track record like that it’s not surprising at all that our unemployment rate is going to go up.”
UPEI economics professor Jim Sentance said the unemployment rate has grown because of increases in the labour force, not a decrease in jobs.
“Since around 2008, the Island’s performance in terms of job creation is as good or better than any other province in the country in terms of percentage growth,” he said. “The problem in terms of unemployment rate is that there’s also been substantial growth in the labour force.”
Sentance said the increase in the labour force has come from more Islanders returning from Western Canada and record levels of people graduated from schools.
The economic base of P.E.I. is very thin and the cornerstones of the economy do not generate much growth in terms of employment.
“It’s a problematic economy,” said Sentance. “We would be lucky if we could sustain the amount of employment we have coming from those areas.”
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