Halifax -- Between 2001 and 2010, Atlantic Canada created nearly four times as many jobs in low-wage industries than it did in high-wage industries, according to the latest Report Card by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC). Low-wage industries are industries with average wages below the all-industry average, equivalent to earnings of $40,000 per year, while high-wage industries have average wages above the all-industry average.
"The net creation of 11,000 new jobs in high-wage industries between 2001-2010 came from an expansion of the public sector, which added 13,000 jobs in public administration and education," said APEC senior economist David Chaundy. "In the private sector, the creation of 14,300 high-wage jobs in construction over the decade was not sufficient to offset the loss of 28,500 positions in manufacturing."
Atlantic Canada created 42,500 net new jobs in low-wage industries between 2001 and 2010, with retail trade continuing to account for the largest number of low-wage jobs in the region. Call centre expansion helped add 30,000 low-wage jobs in the business services industry between 1995 and 2004, but this rapid growth has since levelled off.
Looking forward, public administration and education will not be a major source of high-wage job creation in the Atlantic region over the next five years, according to Chaundy, as federal and provincial governments focus on deficit-reduction and school enrolments are projected to decline. Meanwhile in the private sector, flat housing markets and major project activity will limit high-wage job growth in construction and professional services over the next few years, except in Newfoundland and Labrador. As well, ongoing global competition will continue to put pressure on the region's high-wage manufacturing jobs, although there will be pockets of growth such as in shipbuilding.
HIGHLIGHTS BY PROVINCE
Prince Edward Island
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Prince Edward Island's high-wage job growth was led by manufacturing (largely food processing) and construction. However, in the second half of the 2000s both of these industries lost jobs, contributing to a net loss of high-wage jobs in the private sector. The Island sustained its creation of high-wage jobs between 2005 and 2010 only because of an expansion in public sector jobs, particularly in public administration.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador's ratio of high-wage to low-wage job creation improved because of public sector employment, which added 4,750 jobs in the second half of the 2000s after losing high-wage jobs in public administration and education in the 1990s. The investment boom in the province's oil and mining industries also expanded the number of high-wage jobs in construction and professional services by a total of 4,850 jobs between 2005 and 2010.
High-wage jobs in Nova Scotia increased between 2001 and 2010 due to public sector hiring, after the province lost high-wage jobs in public administration in the 1990s due to federal cutbacks. On the private sector side, the manufacturing sector shed 9,600 jobs since 2001, while the province added over 3,000 high-wage jobs in financial services between 2005 and 2010, helped by an influx of foreign firms.
New Brunswick's performance in high-wage job creation has been volatile largely due to trends in manufacturing. The province added manufacturing jobs in the second half of the 1990s, but lost 10,350 manufacturing jobs since 2001 as several mills closed in the forest products sector. These losses have been offset by high-wage job gains in construction and professional and financial services, while public sector job creation provided a further boost in the second half of the 2000s.
For a copy of the Report Card or a media interview please contact:
Donal Power, APEC Communications Coordinator
902-422-6516 ext. 229
The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council is an independent think-tank dedicated to economic progress in Atlantic Canada. APEC is a trusted source of analysis and advice on current and emerging trends in the region's economy.