27 December 2010

Pop Drop 2010 continues

Newfoundland and Labrador’s population dropped again in the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest estimates from Statistics Canada.

International migration is up, but wasn’t enough to pull things into the growth category.

population 1 Q3

Could it mean that the recession is over?

Well, at least it could be over to the extent that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are feeling comfortable enough to venture off  - again - to Alberta or Ontario or wherever it is they will go to find work. The growth in population from the second quarter of 2007 onward is attributable to the North American recession.  As in previous recessions, outmigration from the province halted and more ex-pats started flowing back in as the economy slowed down.

That pattern started to change a the middle of 2009.

For those like finance minister Tom Marshall and his colleagues in the provincial cabinet - who tried to imagine this was due to the attractiveness of local economic opportunities -  these figures are bad news.  They confirm that their interpretation is wrong. If their view was correct, the population ought to be growing at a much greater rate than it has been for the past year or so.  Locals would be finding work and staying while more people would come from outside to take up the extra jobs created by a booming economy that somehow managed to escape the ravages of the worst recessions since the 1930s.

Short answer:  it didn’t.  And to go with that there are still some major economic problems in the province that the politicians aren’t talking about.  Let’s see if they start talking about them in 2011.

As a last point, as you can see from this second chart, the population of the province has dropped more often each quarter than it has grown over the past five years.  And if you were to extend that back to 2003, you’d see the downward trend continues.  In fact, the trend goes back before 2003.

population 2 Q3

So much for the government’s pronatalist policy.

- srbp -