Letters to the Editor

City’s unemployment numbers fail to paint accurate picture

To the Editor,

When I read that Nanaimo’s unemployment dips below national average, it reminds me that the saying “I can make these numbers say anything you want them to say” could be true.

It says in December 2010 the unemployment rate in Nanaimo was 6.1 per cent, with 54,000 residents employed. It then goes on to say last month unemployment was 6.3 per cent with 43,000 residents employed. How is that possible when the per cent employed went down by 20.4 per cent and the unemployment only increased by 0.2 percent? Did the 11,000 employees and jobs just picked everything up and leave Nanaimo?

I cannot believe they were all retired and the employers did not see the need to replace any of them. Is it that the new 11,000 people who lost jobs in 2011, just replaced the 11,000 that lost jobs in 2010 and no longer  qualify for unemployment? This is the most likely answer.

This brings up the second question as to if city council’s plan of reducing business taxes to save jobs is really working?

The last we heard is that our business taxes are 68-per cent lower than the B.C. average and will be going lower yet this year. I would say if we are losing more than 20 per cent of the jobs in Nanaimo in 2011, it is not working and they need to re-think the plan. The politicians compare 2010 and 2011 unemployment rates in Nanaimo, give themselves a big slap on the back for doing a great job and having a plan that works. On the other hand the residents and unemployed look at the 2010 and 2011 employed numbers and all agree that the politicians are all doing a terrible job and their plans are not working.

How can the plan be working if we have more than 20 per cent fewer jobs than we had a year ago? If their plan keeps working this way, by 2016 we could still have 6.3 per cent unemployment, 1,200 employed and a business tax that is 97 per cent lower than the average in B.C.

Terrance Wagstaff


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