Saskatchewan sees 4.6% increase in jobs in January

Business commentator Paul Martin said the government and employers need to get aggressive about marketing Saskatchewan as a place to live with lots of job opportunities. Global News

Job numbers released by Statistics Canada show 24,600 jobs were added in Saskatchewan in January 2022, an increase of 4.6 per cent from January 2021.

Of those jobs, 21,000 were full-time jobs.

The province’s unemployment rate went down to 5.5 per cent, which is down from 7.2 per cent one year ago and below the national average of 6.5 per cent.

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Saskatchewan Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said the province’s economy continues to show resilience.

“While other provinces decided to lock down in the face of the Omicron wave, Saskatchewan stayed open. As we transition to living with COVID-19 and remaining restrictions are lifted, we expect Saskatchewan job creators and entrepreneurs to continue to create opportunity for all people in our great province.”

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Business commentator Paul Martin told Global News there “probably is some merit in that argument.”

“But then the flip side is the lowest unemployment rate in Canada is in Quebec, where they had the tightest lockdown, so that probably bucks that notion a little bit,” Martin said.

Martin said many employers have told him they think the Saskatchewan labour pool is “tapped out” and that the province and employers need to get more aggressive about attracting people to Saskatchewan.

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Analyzing the numbers from Statistics Canada, Martin said the one that sticks out to him is the workforce increasing by about 3,800.

“That really is about the equivalent of all the jobs in a city of 6,000 in this province, so it’s quite a big number.”

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“They either are people who are moving into Saskatchewan in search of work or people who had been sidelined and are now looking to come back to the workforce.”

Martin called the 3,900 jobs created last month a significant number.

“It suggests that employers are doing their job — they’re creating a lot of opportunity and new people are showing up to fill those jobs,” Martin said.

He added that the province has had a “big problem” with vacancy rates, with a lot of jobs going unfilled.

“Right now it’s a seller’s market. If you’re selling your labour, you probably have an opportunity because employers are scrambling to find talent,” Martin said.

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Martin said Saskatchewan’s economy is in ascension and growth mode now, meaning more people are needed to fill jobs.

“What we’re seeing is there’s a lag time always between the economy taking off and people arriving. We’re in that lull right now between the economy starting to go upward and the people arriving to fill those opportunities.”

Martin says this is why Saskatchewan probably should “get aggressive” about marketing this province a place to live with lots of job opportunities.

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