The Northwest Territories has shed 1,200 jobs since August last year, almost all of them in the public sector, according to a report from the NWT Bureau of Statistics.
A quarterly labour market bulletin produced by the federal government tells much the same story, pegging job loss in the NWT at 1,500 over the last 18 months.
The trend is in sharp contrast to the territorial government’s claims about the potential benefits of devolution and the transfer of federal jobs to the territorial public service.
In welcoming devolution, Premier Bob McLeod said last year that it would “help transform the Northwest Territories economy and create jobs and opportunities for our residents, especially if it is supported by an efficient and effective regulatory system that promotes investment.”
The territorial government gave ConocoPhillips and Husky Oil the go ahead to conduct horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Sahtu, but both companies have shelved their exploration plans – putting the ambitions of many small contractors on hold.
But most of the job losses have come in the public sector, according to the bureau report. It states that the public sector has lost 1,000 jobs since August 2013 while the private sector shed 200 jobs in the same period.
The report runs counter to Industry Minister Dave Ramsay’s assessment of the situation.
Questioned about the losses, Ramsay said in an email that “fluctuations in demand for labour in the NWT are primarily driven by industrial activity and exploration in the non-renewable resource sector.
“With the pause in oil and gas exploration in the Sahtu, and minimal mine construction, employment numbers have dropped,” Ramsay told The Journal.2 comments