Sask. unemployment on the rise
author: taylor balfour | news writer
Amidst financial downturn, jobs take a hit too
In 2016, the province’s unemployment rate spiked upward according to The Government of Saskatchewan’s website. As of Dec. 2016, the province’s unemployment rate was at 6.2 per cent, while in 2015 the rate sat at 5 per cent and at 3.8 per cent in 2014.
According to the province’s labour force statistics, also available on the government’s website, their Dec. 2016 report states that “there were 563,000 persons employed in Saskatchewan,” and that “this is a decrease of 4,800 from Nov. 2016 and 7,900 less than the number employed in Dec. 2015.”
Their estimated population of the province as of Oct. 2016 was 1,155,393, which equals out to around 71,634 Saskatchewan citizens without jobs.
While the national average of unemployment sits at 6.9 per cent, meaning Saskatchewan is still under average, Global News Regina reports that “throughout the year, 10,300 full-time jobs were lost and 2,500 part-time jobs were created in the province.”
On the Government of Saskatchewan’s website, they also report that “Canadian employment decreased by 46,700 persons in Dec. 2016 to 18,133,000 persons from 18,179,700 persons in Nov. 2016.”
They also report that “in Dec. 2015, there were 17,915,000 persons employed in Canada.”
So, what exactly is happening that is causing employment to continually decrease? Doug Elliott is a publisher of SaskTrends Monitor, according to the Leader-Post, and told them, “It’s a continuation of a trend that we have been watching for the past two years.”
Elliott also claims that it is “a direct consequence of this economic slowdown, especially in industries where you get a lot of employment insurance such as construction and the oil patch.”
The Leader-Post also reports that the number of Saskatchewan citizens collecting employment insurance rose by 37.6 per cent from Nov. 2015 to Nov. 2016, the numbers jumping from 5,850 to 21,390.
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix offers reports that “the finance, insurance and real estate sector is down 13 per cent, agriculture is down 8 per cent and construction is down 9 per cent,” which is a huge factor in the disappearance of jobs.
However, they also claim that “private sector jobs were harder hit than public sector jobs,” and this is why the labour market hasn’t taken as great of a hit.
Collapsing resource prices have caused many businesses to lay off workers. The Star Phoenix also claims that these prices dropping “have dampened spending across the broader economy as employers look for ways to reduce costs.”
In 2016, the province lost more than 10,000 full-time positions, and economy minister Jeremy Harrison says the battle isn’t over yet.
“Forecasters are predicting that even for next year we’ll be seeing increases, but that being said, we are going to still see impacts from the sustained downturn in energy and commodity prices,” Harrison told Global News Regina.
For now, it looks like all the province can do is wait.