Province saw steep decline in federal jobs

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Over nearly a decade of Ottawa restraint, this province lost 19 per cent of its federal jobs, the steepest decline in the country.

“Newfoundland has been hit hardest by decline in federal employment,” said APEC senior economist David Chaundy.

According to the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), the losses were the result of federal employment cutbacks between 1992 and 2009.

Nova Scotia saw the second steepest decline in the country — 13 per cent.

At the same time, Prince Edward Island saw its employment rolls more than double since 1992.

In its quarterly report card, APEC also said Newfoundland and Labrador lost almost half its military jobs between 1992 and 2009.

About 25 per cent of the jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador cut between ’92 and ’09 were in the federal Transportation Department, which was hit hard along with the Department of National Defence, Chaundy said.

“Following budget cutbacks in the 1990s, federal employment in Canada has increased steadily though over half of these new jobs are based in Ottawa,” Chaundy said in a news release. “As a result, federal job growth in all four Atlantic provinces was well below the 33 per cent national increase between 1999 and 2009.”

APEC said program restraint is “back in vogue” with Ottawa vowing to bring its $49 billion deficit back to near balance by 2014-15.

“Newfoundland has been hit hardest by decline in federal employment,” APEC senior economist David Chaundy

APEC said the Atlantic provinces are highly dependent on federal jobs.

“Any substantial reduction in federal employment in the Atlantic region, whether through attrition or actual cuts, would have potentially sizeable impacts on income and household spending, at least in the short run,” Chaundy said. “Of possible greater concern is the capacity of the federal government to understand and adapt national programs to the specific requirements of provincial economies if budget restraint leads to further concentration of federal employees in Ottawa.”

Federal jobs are highly paid with an average 2009 salary in the Atlantic region of $69,500. The total wages and salaries of federal employees and military personnel in the Atlantic provinces amounted to $3.4 billion in 2009, or about seven per cent of total labour income in the region.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canada Revenue Agency are now the two largest federal employers.

Organizations: APEC, Transportation Department, Department of National Defence Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Revenue Agency

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa, Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Atlantic Canada

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