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Saskatchewan job numbers shine spotlight on economic success, labour challenges facing industry

Published by Derek Lothian on March 08, 2013

REGINA (March 8, 2013) – New job numbers released today show Saskatchewan is enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.8 per cent, but underscore the urgent need to address labour and skills shortages facing industry in the province.

Over the past year, Saskatchewan has created 24,400 jobs; however, the number of companies facing immediate workforce deficiencies has also risen. According a recent survey from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), if labour market conditions don't improve, within the next half-decade, 19 per cent of Saskatchewan manufacturers will be forced to shift production and investment to other Canadian jurisdictions, while 31 per cent will move production and investment to other countries.

"While today's statistics are great news for Saskatchewan's economy, they also highlight the pressing challenges facing business," explains Derek Lothian, executive director of the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council – a new initiative of CME, launched this past January. "It's important that governments both at the provincial and federal levels continue to work with partners in the private sector to identify and implement solutions that nurture long-term growth."

Among these solutions, says Lothian, is an expansion of the province's immigration quota, enhanced support for workplace training, and additional investments in productivity improvement.

The council recently submitted a letter to Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister, Jason Kenney, in support of the province's request to expand its quota under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program, from 4,000 to 6,000 as soon as possible.

"Saskatchewan has established itself as a world-class destination to live, work and do business," says Lothian. "Today's numbers show just that. We now have the opportunity to build on this success and cultivate the next generation of prosperity – but to get there, we need to look towards tomorrow, today."

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