|Imagine Port Hawkesbury 20 years from today – where will people be working, how financially secure will we be? This week, Imagine2030 is taking a closer look at labour force activity, income and employment in the Town of Port Hawkesbury. |
Each of the following numbers represents a significant economic factor for the Town:
Any guesses on what these might be?
The last Statistics Canada census (2006) shows that the Town of Port Hawkesbury has an employment rate of 58.6% for people 15 years old or more (which is about on par with the provincial rate). However, when you take a closer look at the situation, we can adjust our “working age population” to exclude most retired seniors 65 years or older - at which point the employment rate for our Town jumps closer to 70%. Participation, Productivity and Population have often been referred to as the three Ps of economic growth. Given that the workforce participation rate in the Town is already quite high and population is declining, our growth potential relies more than ever on productivity. Let’s also keep in mind that even with such high workforce participation, there are barriers to workforce participation for people in our Town. For example, how do we balance joblessness (or non-participation), which traditionally represents a waste of economic potential, with the economic realities of young families for whom it can be costly to work outside the home?
Now let’s talk money – specifically, income levels. In Port Hawkesbury the average family income is $64,591 – almost $2,000 lower than the provincial average family income rate (Statistics Canada 2006 Census). Interestingly, when we compare these rates to those from the previous census year (2001), we have noted at that time, the Town’s average family income rate was almost $2,000 higher than the provincial average. This swing is particularly interesting, considering that the overall number of people from the Town who work has not significantly changed since 2001. Certainly there are many reasons. For example, how does the mobility of our population affect this number? Only about 61% of workforce participants that live within the Town also work here. On the up-side, the Town has enjoyed a significant drop in low income levels since the last census. In 2006 10.3% of families living within the Town had low income status, compared with 14.8% in 1996. With this figure dropping 4.5 percentage points, some families have indicated that they are in an overall better economic position.
Our last number is related to the type of work that is most prevalent in our community. Our research has identified 18 industry segments as employment sectors according to their industry, such as health, education, construction, etc. The sector that has been the largest single employer of people in Port Hawkesbury is retail trade, which employs 350 Town residents. For the last 20 years, the number of people working in this sector has fluctuated slightly, but retail consistently remains the largest employment sector for the Town. This is a strong indication that the Town is recognized by neighbouring communities as a regional centre for trade and commerce.
What do these numbers say about our Town’s economic situation? We have many strengths as a community, now how do we build on these strengths to thrive economically? Let us know what you think. Bring your ideas forward. Let’s get started Growing our Town, Together!
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