Labour Minister Wrong on Manufacturing Jobs

Saskatchewan newspapers report:

“Certainly in professional, scientific and technical areas and in the mining and the manufacturing sector (the job numbers) are very strong,” Don Morgan, minister of advanced education and labour relations, told reporters at news conference Friday.

On Friday, Statistics Canada reported that Saskatchewan manufacturing employment dropped by 900 last month and declined by 600 over the past year. Since Morgan’s Sask. Party government took office, our province has lost 5,100 manufacturing jobs. By what measure is manufacturing employment “very strong”?

Saskatchewan Manufacturing Employment

Nov. 2007

 32,000

July 2011

 27,500

June 2012

 27,800

July 2012

 26,900

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey

It’s easy to understand why Sask. Party politicians would like to claim strong manufacturing employment. They are trying to characterize “Dutch disease” as an eastern Canadian preoccupation. In reality, manufacturing job losses have afflicted all regions of Canada, including Saskatchewan.

UPDATE (August 20): An excellent letter in today’s Leader-Post (page A7):

Worrying job stats

The Aug. 11 story, “Sask. unemployment figure rises” quotes Labour Minister Don Morgan as saying that in “the manufacturing sector, (the job numbers) are very strong.” This claim is demonstrably false.

Economist Erin Weir, who serves as president of the Progressive Economics Forum, points out on its website that Statistics Canada actually reported declines in Saskatchewan manufacturing employment of 900 compared to the previous month and 600 over the past year. Since Morgan’s Saskatchewan Party government took office in November 2007, our province has lost 5,100 manufacturing jobs.

The Sask. Party wants to characterize Dutch disease – an overvalued petro-currency hurting manufacturing – as an eastern concern. The inconvenient truth reported by Statistics Canada is that manufacturing employment has fallen in all regions, including Saskatchewan.

If Morgan thinks that job losses make Saskatchewan manufacturing “very strong,” then I am inclined to quote the late NDP leader Jack Layton: “We need a new kind of strong.”

– Deron Staffen, Regina

2 comments

  • Truth has nothing to do with anything the Wall govenrment does. It is a great spin machine…the NDP has got to get its act together and start to fight back before everything the people of this province worked so hard to build is sold off for pennies on the dollar and all workers drop to minimum wage and no benefits.

  • Like many other social democratic parties the world over, the NDP made strategic decisions many years ago (after the fall of the USSR) to abandon any form of socialism (participatory democracy, co-ops, state ownership, peacekeeping, international solidarity, etc…) and the people in the party who continued to believe in these things were driven out or slowly melted away. It is not for the NDP to get its “act together”: it is for us to get our “act together” and build a new inclusive, grassroots movement.

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