Saskatchewan’s employment numbers continued the troubling trend this month. The latest figures from Statistics Canada show that 9,500 jobs were lost in Saskatchewan’s private and public sectors since this time last year. Among these losses, 7,200 were mortgage-paying, family-supporting full-time jobs.
“Job losses like these are obviously both a symptom and a growing cause of the slowing Saskatchewan economy. They’re also devastating for the Saskatchewan people who are struggling to find work,” said NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “It really speaks to the Sask. Party’s refusal or inability to properly diversify the economy and they’re making things even worse with deep cuts announced in their budget to job training and education programs.”
The numbers from Statistics Canada also show the unemployment rate for off-reserve First Nations in Saskatchewan up sharply from 16.7 per cent a year ago, to an alarming 25.3 per cent. Wotherspoon noted that the numbers are much worse for those living on-reserve and, instead of taking action to extend opportunities for all, the Sask. Party has shamefully cut important training, education, and economic development programs for First Nations and Métis people in Saskatchewan.
Wotherspoon said that the 5,300 jobs lost in educational services in the last year is especially a concern because, in the wake of the Sask. Party budget, school boards continue to announce more job cuts and those losses have a significant impact on children and teachers in the classroom.
“After waiting on pins and needles for the Sask. Party to finally reveal their budget, school boards throughout the province are now being forced to look at reducing more staff and supports in already strained classrooms because of cuts and a lack of proper funding from the government,” he said.
Other sectors that saw significant losses of full-time jobs over the last year include, transportation and warehousing (3,200 jobs lost); construction (5,800 jobs lost); health care and social assistance (800 jobs lost); manufacturing (800 jobs lost); and forestry, fishing, mining and oil and gas (1,100 jobs lost).
“We know the Premier loves to grandstand on Saskatchewan’s resource sector, but month after month, on his watch, the province has seen thousands of jobs lost in this area,” Wotherspoon said. “It’s past time the Premier and the government realize the seriousness of the situation, and get to work on actually delivering solid mortgage-paying jobs and some certainty to the people who are struggling in this sector.”