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Environmental
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Land Use Plan &
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2.1.4


The Current Economic Situation in CBRM

 

 

Table 2.3 shows high unemployment and low participation rates in CBRM as of August-October 2000. Even with CBRM’s lower participation rates, the unemployment rates in the CBRM and the rest of Cape Breton Island are substantially higher than those encountered on the mainland of Nova Scotia. If one applies the mainland participation rate to the CBRM, its unemployment rate rises to about 32%.

Table 2.3 Labour Force Activity AUG-OCT, 2000 (seasonally adjusted)
Nova Scotia

CBRM*

Rest of CBI*

HRM

Rest of NS

Labour Force Age Group

749,648

93,334

32,580

278,028

345,706

Labour Force

461,033

47,076

16,400

197,400

200,157

Employed

417,433

40,499

14,064

185,900

176,970

Unemployed

43,600

8,990

3,104

11,500

20,006

Participation Rate

61.5%

50.4%

50.3%

71.0%

57.9%

Unemployment Rate

9.5%

19.1%

18.9%

5.8%

10.0%

Notes. Totals may not add up due to rounding. * = estimated by EDM
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM II, tables 279-0005, 279-0006 and 279-0007 and Catalogue no. 71-001-PIB.; Nova Scotia Department of Finance, Publications, "Employment Situation" & EDM

However, the data in Table 2.4, 18 months later in April 2002, show a different picture.


 
  Table 2.4 Labour Force Activity FEB-APR, 2002 (seasonally adjusted)
Nova Scotia

CBRM*

Rest of CBI*

HRM

Rest of NS

Labour Force Age Group

759,133

88,927

32,082

283,000

350,124

Labour Force

471,633

46,948

16,938

196,100

211,647

Employed

424,967

40,262

14,576

181,300

188,829

Unemployed

46,733

6,518

2,352

14,800

23,063

Participation Rate

62.5

52.8%

52.8%

69.3%

60.4%

Unemployment Rate

9.9%

13.9%

13.9%

7.5%

10.9%

Notes. Totals may not add up due to rounding. * = estimated by EDM
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM II, tables 279-0005, 279-0006 and 279-0007 and Catalogue no. 71-001-PIB.; Nova Scotia Department of Finance, Publications, "Employment Situation" & EDM

 
 

Over the previous 18 months, total employment in CBRM decreased by about 240 jobs, which suggests a minor annual rate of decline of 0.4%. This is compared to an annualized decline of 1.7% for HRM. If the mainland labour participation rate is applied to the CBRM its unemployment rate would be about 29%.

These data indicate that despite the final closure of SYSCO and DEVCO, and the modest economic slowdown (September-December 2001), during the last 18 months the underlying employment growth trend of other sectors in the CBRM appears to have maintained itself. The persistence of the trend is likely related to the fact that markets and economies tend to adjust in anticipation of economic conditions and therefore the negative impacts of the closure of SYSCO and DEVCO have already been absorbed by the CBRM economy.

 

2.1.5

Cape Breton Island 1987-2002

 
 

Taking a longer term view on the overall economy we find that from September 1987 to February 1993 the Island economy showed a general trend to declining employment, falling from about 56.1 thousand (September 1987-August 1988) to about 47.1 thousand (January-December 1996). Employment then began a steady growth trend that continued into the first quarter of 2002. For the 12 months ending April 2002 employment has recovered to about 54.6 thousand.

From February 1993 to the first quarter of 2002 employment grew about 1.13% per year, despite the loss of about 3,400 jobs in steel and coal mining. The closure of the steel and coal mining sectors masked the strong performance of the rest of the Island’s economy, which produced an annual average growth of 1.86% in employment.

This is not to say all is well in the CBRM economy. Threading water is not the same as steady positive growth, and significant re-investment and re-structuring will still be required to make certain these growth trends continue.

 

 
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