Editorial: Stats mess

The provincial government needs to get a better handle on the employment statistics it uses for the northwest

THE PROVINCIAL government needs to get a better handle on the  employment statistics it uses for the northwest.

September 2012’s figures are a case in point. We’re told the workforce (the definition includes those who have a job as well as those looking for work) numbers 42,900 people. Compare that to September 2011 when the workforce totalled 49,000.

It means we’re expected to believe that 6,100 people removed themselves in some fashion from the northwest workforce. Further, employment comparisons for the same two Septembers show a drop of 6,400 in the number of people actually working in the region.

Really? So much for the province’s Jobs Plan.

Somewhere, someplace, something is screwy.

There’s no way there can be 6,400 fewer people working last September compared to now. If so, we’d be looking at a socio-economic disaster that would make the collapse of the northwest forest industry a decade ago look like a tea party.

And now that we’re told the northwest is on the verge of a huge economic upswing and there’s a growing movement to train local residents for jobs, the province needs more accurate and more reliable statistics upon which to make crucial employment policy decisions. If this was southern B.C., you know they’d be up nights doing exactly that.