Even though New Brunswick’s population is growing at a record pace, economic development consultant David Campbell says the province still needs more immigration, more jobs and more ambition.
The unprecedented arrival of immigrants and a surge of residents moving from other provinces pushed New Brunswick’s population to a record 780,021 in September.
That increase of 6,134 between April and September was the strongest growth since 1975.
While that is good news, Campbell said the province can’t lose sight of the fact that the overall workforce in New Brunswick shrank again this year.
If you go back to the 1990s, we only had about 1,500 people on average retiring,” Campbell, the former chief economist with the New Brunswick Jobs Board, told Information Morning Moncton. “Now we’re up to almost 6,000.”
Until New Brunswick finds a way to replace those 6,000 retirees and can attract enough younger workers to fill vacant jobs and allow for future growth, the province will continue to be among the “have-nots.”
“If you don’t have labour, it’s like an engine without oil … and so it kind of seizes up and you’re not able to grow your economy.”
Campbell said New Brunswick has to keep its population gains in perspective. He explained that the province has passed Prince Edward Island in terms of how much equalization is required from the federal government to help pay for public services.
“New Brunswick now requires more equalization on a per capita basis than any other province,” he said.
Retirees must work longer
Campbell said part of solution is to encourage New Brunswickers over the age of 55 to continue working longer.
“Maybe they can be convinced to stay in the workforce on a part-time basis or a seasonal basis to do work — but more on their own terms now that they’ve retired or semi-retired. I think it’s very pivotal these next few years.”
The other part of the equation is to do a better job of matching newcomers with the jobs they want and are qualified to do.
Campbell said there is still room for improvement when it comes to ensuring people “have opportunity.”
“If you need taxi drivers go find people that have the skills and interest to be taxi drivers and don’t bring in PhDs because if they’re working as taxi drivers it’s not a stable situation.”
Province could use more ambition
As one of the authors of Moncton’s immigration strategy, Campbell believes setting “aggressive” targets is part of the success the city has experienced in the first nine months of 2019.
Greater Moncton, Campbell said, is on pace to surpass its goal of attracting 1,900 immigrants this year.
“The whole community is getting together and developing action items and initiatives to make sure that as many of those newcomers as possible can stay and thrive in our community.”
Campbell hopes the province will challenge itself and set higher expectations.
“Saskatchewan is expecting to grow their workforce by 100,000 between now and 2030. That’s net growth. We’re expecting ours to grow by 3,200. And they’re not much larger than us.”
Saskatchewan is projecting the growth based on its oil and gas industry, agriculture and other natural resources.
“They have a very ambitious plan and I’d like to see a little more ambition here in New Brunswick as well.”
Report: Women, diversity are key to rebuilding Canada's economy – Wealth Professional
Climbing the ladder
Women and diverse groups are also facing struggles to climb the corporate ladder to senior leadership roles.
“While we are making some progress with women on corporate Boards, reported at 25.3% of directors, the study highlights this doesn’t hold true for racialized women, reported at just 1.2% of directors,” said Zabeen Hirji, Executive Advisor, Future of Work, Deloitte. “White women out-numbering racialized women on corporate boards in Toronto by 12 to 1. The talent is there, it is policies and practices that need to evolve. We need to cast a wider net.”
The challenges are particularly evident in science and technology sectors (STEM).
Occupations within some of the high-growth and high-income sectors reveal the disparity of women trying to advance in STEM fields, generally filling lower-level jobs compared to their higher-level male counterparts.
However, women have made inroads into highly paid professions such as medicine and law.
Gautam Adani debunks GDP rhetoric, says India will be 2nd largest economy by 2050 – Deccan Herald
Billionaire Gautam Adani has debunked the narrow fixation on GDP numbers, saying fundamentals are intact and India will be the second-largest economy by 2050 and has an edge over global peers in terms of business opportunities.
Speaking at the JP Morgan India Summit – Future in Focus, the Adani Group chairman said the AatmaNirbhar Bharat programme will be a game-changer.
“I will state without any hesitation – that – in my view – over the next three decades, India is the world’s greatest business opportunity,” he said.
India’s geostrategic position and massive market size give it an edge over its global peers amid the fundamental political realignment of nations taking shape, he said adding opportunities for India are likely to accelerate on the other side of the pandemic.
“For the sake of the fans of the GDP metric, let’s look at some statistics. The global GDP in 1990 was $38 trillion. Today, 30 years later, this number is $90 trillion. Projecting for another 30 years, in 2050 the global GDP is expected to be about $170 trillion with India becoming the second-largest economy in the world,” he said.
The Indian economy shrank by a record 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown that followed. The economy is projected to contract for the first time in four decades, in the full year to March 2021.
But Adani said short-term setbacks due to a global crisis cannot be used to write off the country as its fundamentals remain intact.
“The current focus on standardised GDP predictions as against truly understanding what a nation could look like over a decade has unfortunately become one of the primary elements for measuring the health of an economy. In my view, patience and long-term planning and most importantly, an alignment with the government’s business agenda are what creates the greatest value,” he said.
Speaking of challenges holding back India, Adani said that India needs $1.5 to 2 trillion of capital over the next decade but despite key structural reforms such as the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and Credit Enhancement Fund, capital structure challenges, and lack of empowered and independent regulators remain bottlenecks to nation-building and investment opportunities.
The first generation entrepreneur, who built India’s biggest infrastructure group with interests spanning from seaports to airports and energy, coaxed the audience to look at opportunities through his ‘optimist’ lenses.
“As an entrepreneur, I am an optimist, and therefore the lenses through which I see opportunities may be different than some of yours. I recognise that the view that you cannot build a long-term future on short-term thinking, may not be in alignment with the objectives of certain priorities of the investment community,” he said.
He told the forum to stop viewing all nations through old Western growth metrics.
“Democracy cannot take a cookie-cutter approach and we should accept that different nations will have their own flavour of democracy and capitalism.”
Stating that the AatmaNirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India programme will be a game-changer, he said India building a crumbling supply chain infrastructure that stood exposed to Covid-19, as also a strong head start in digital transformation will help re-build the economy.
India's central bank to keep rates on hold, provide economic forecasts – The Journal Pioneer
By Swati Bhat
MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Reserve Bank of India is expected to keep key rates unchanged this week, but may for the first time since February provide guidance on how the economy is performing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All 66 respondents in a Reuters poll expect the repo rate to remain unchanged at 4.0% after its policy review on Thursday, and a large majority see no cuts until the January-March quarter. The RBI will then likely stay on hold until the end of 2021.
The central bank must manage high retail inflation while keeping policy accommodative to support an economy which nosedived 23.9% last quarter, the weakest performance on record.
It has so far slashed rates by 115 basis points in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since late March.
“India’s inflation-constrained central bank is unlikely to deliver a rate cut, and we expect all policy rates to stay unchanged,” said Rahul Bajoria, economist with Barclays adding that the RBI will however provide economic projections.
India is gradually reopening its economy from a lockdown but economic activity remains depressed as coronavirus cases top six million, the second-highest globally.
The South Asian country was already facing a cyclical downturn before the pandemic struck and is now expected to mark its first full-year contraction since 1979 this year as millions are left unemployed in the world’s second-most populous country.
The RBI has so far refrained from providing any forecasts on growth or inflation due to the heightened uncertainty and risk of projections having to be revised frequently.
However, the central bank is required by law to provide economic forecasts once every six months.
“Data projections from the central bank will be critical, as it would lay out the RBI’s assessment of the extent of the current slowdown and the medium-term implications of the current crisis,” Bajoria said.
The RBI has maintained that it sees the current rise in inflation as transitional and expects to see prices come down, giving it room to reduce rates to support growth.
August inflation, at 6.69%, held above the top end of the RBI’s medium-term target range of 2-6% for the fifth consecutive month amid supply disruptions.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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