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Parties taking polar opposite view of latest employment stats

Premier Moe pleased with lowest unemployment in Canada; NDP displeased over 5,600 full time job losses.

REGINA — The Sask. Party government and the NDP opposition had widely divergent views of the latest employment numbers released Friday.

The Sask. Party and Premier Scott Moe touted the latest unemployment numbers for September, showing an unemployment rate of 4.1 per cent.

“Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada,” was the reaction on a Twitter post by Moe. “Just released by StatsCan this morning, our province posted a 4.1 per cent unemployment rate, signalling strong growth in our labour markets.”

“With over 14,000 jobs available on as of this morning, there is no shortage of opportunities here in Saskatchewan.”

The opposition New Democrats had a far less positive view of the numbers from StatsCan. 

At a news conference Friday morning at their party office in Regina, Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Critic for Jobs and the Economy Aleana Young pointed to a loss of 5,600 full-time jobs month-over-month, and what the NDP characterized in a news release as the worst jobs growth rate year-over-year in Canada for the month of September.

“It’s another grim day for Saskatchewan workers and small businesses,” Young said. “Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, 5,600 families in Saskatchewan are going to be sitting around talking about how mom or dad is out of work.”

Opposition leader Beck accused the government of concentrating on spin.

“We have the premier and a job minister more focused on political spin than actually doing their jobs,” Beck said. 

“Our labour force is smaller today than it was pre-pandemic. We have the slowest job growth of all of the provinces in Canada, and we learned today that we lost 5,600 jobs last month. Instead of creating a plan for growth, Scott Moe would prefer to point fingers and spin."

This is not the first time the two parties have clashed in their interpretations of statistical numbers. 

At a media event in Regina last week, Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison pointed to the province posting its largest-ever quarterly population jump, by 6,465 people. The increase, driven largely by international immigration, had boosted the overall Saskatchewan population last month to an all-time high of 1.194 million. 

"Saskatchewan's economy is firing on all cylinders and creating thousands of new jobs," Harrison stated in a news release. "That's attracting more people than ever to our province." 

The opposition NDP countered that messaging by pointing to out-migration to other provinces, citing the Saskatchewan Bureau of Statistics.

“Reality check: 38,553 people left the province for other parts of Canada under Moe's watch; 10,480 fewer young adults (ages 18 to 30) live here than five years ago. Moe's inaction is driving thousands out of our province,” the party posted on Twitter Sept. 29.

Provincial Liberal leader Jeff Walters reacted by posting this on Twitter: “A net loss of folks in #saskatchewan spun as a gain. Why? No plan, no vision and no thought of admitting what is really going on … Your @PremierScottMoe gov in action.”

When pressed by reporters Sept. 28 about Saskatchewan’s net loss of population due to out-migration to other provinces, Harrison responded, “I would kind of reject the premise of that question, actually.”

“The fact that we’ve seen a net increase of 6,500 people is the important number in all of this.”

The NDP doubled-down on the out-migration issue again Friday, tying it to the unemployment numbers. Young said that “the only reason unemployment went down was because 7,200 people left this province or gave up looking for work altogether.”

At the media availability Beck was asked about the duelling Twitter “memes” on statistical numbers, and what people should actually be looking for.

“I think that people need look no further than their neighbours, to go down to coffee row and talk with people about employment in this province,” said Beck. “It’s certainly something we’ve heard when we’ve been out on the road for the last three months. This is a concern, as I’ve said, that has been raised by job creators, by workers, by municipalities and a real sense that there isn’t any plan for a labour force development strategy in the province, to create, retain good jobs and people in Saskatchewan. Like I said, memes aside, it’s very hard to put a positive spin on the numbers we are seeing today.”