"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The rural-urban divide

The following graph shows the number of people who are working (in thousands) in the St. John's Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and the rest of the province (for ease of reference, "Rural").
These figures are actually the three-month rolling averages, so they aren't 100% comparable to the previous employment graphs. However, comparing apples to apples, the province as a whole had an employed workforce averaging 214.6 thousand for the three months ending May 2009. That's down 3.9% from the same period in 2008.

In the St. John's CMA, the same figure is 99.8 thousand this year, compared to 95.8 thousand in 2008. That's an increase of 4.2% year over year... but the St. John's figures also had their recent peak in the three months ending December 2008, when the employed labour force in Capital City topped out at 101.5 thousand, the highest on record for this metric. For the first half of 2009, St. John's has shown some signs of backsliding.

In the rest of the province? The employed labour force in the smaller urban centres and rural areas, including the rural Avalon, has slumped to 114.8 this spring, from 127.4 the same period in 2008.

That's a loss, year over year, of 12,700 jobs, or a staggering 9.9%, in a province where, the leader tells themselves, Economy Strong.

By way of comparison, in June 1991, in the grip of the last major recession, the rural economy had lost 3200 jobs, or 2.5%, compared to the year before.

In October 1992, as the impact of the July cod moratorium worked its way through the rural economy, the figures were 10,200 jobs lost, for a year-over-year decline of 8.0%.


At 8:42 PM, June 13, 2009 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

It would be interesting to know how much of the growth in the CMA was from provincial internal migration.

I suspect a fair bit of it is that.

15 years ago, government's internal demographic projections were for:

- a decline in overall population,
- continued outmigration (with some periods of net inmigration),
- an overall aging population with a flip around now so that more people were in the dependent category (children and retired than working) and,
pronounced internal migration (from the smaller places into the major towns and into the CMA.

So far the projections have been spot on.


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