According to Cariboo-Prince George MP Dick Harris, the economy is ticking along just fine, thanks to the federal government.
“Almost 460,000 more Canadians are working today than in July 2009 thanks to our Economic Action Plan,” he said in a press release issued this week.
It sounds good, and yes, the Canadian economy has grown for five straight quarters, although we suspect that something more than just the federal Economic Action Plan might have had something to do with that.
While the news may be good on the federal front, here in B.C. it’s a bit of a different story.
British Columbia’s jobless rate jumped 0.7 percentage points to 7.6 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in December, according to BC Stats. The province shed roughly 22,500 jobs during the month.
While the workforces for manufacturing (-1,800) and forestry, fishing and mining (-1,700) shrank in December, the largest source of job losses in the goods sector was the construction sector. Employment in construction fell sharply (-10,200) in December, accounting for roughly three-quarters of the decline in goods sector employment.
Isn’t the Economic Action Plan supposed to help the construction sector?
On the services side, the most significant job losses were registered in health care and social assistance (-11,300). Employment in finance, insurance and real estate (-8,700) was also down significantly from the previous month.
However, a few sectors made considerable employment gains in December, including transportation and warehousing (+6,800), public administration (+4,800) and accommodation and food services (+3,000).
In the Interior, where lumber is king, production at sawmills in British
Columbia was up 7.2 per cent in October compared to the same month in the previous year. Accounting for roughly nine-tenths of B.C.’s lumber output, Interior mills saw a 6.7 per cent rise in production, while Coastal mills posted a significant increase in output (+11.7%).
From January to October of 2010, B.C. sawmills have registered an 18.8 per cent increase in lumber production. That, however, doesn’t always translate into more jobs as evidenced by the job losses in the sector in December.
Are we climbing out of the recession? Statistics aside, most businesses we talk to say things are improving but we’re not where we were two or three years ago … in spite of what the politicians, and the media, tell us.