When governments cut public sector jobs, public sector spokespeople would have you believe it’s going to hurt the economy. Others will present a different view – at least where the long term is concerned.
In fact, this province is severely lacking in the private sector jobs that spur economic growth and is top-heavy in public sector positions, according to the CEO of a survey firm.
Don Mills, CEO of Corporate Research Associates, was speaking at the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce annual meeting last week in Truro.
Nova Scotia’s economy suffers because the private sector is relatively smaller than the overall economy compared to other areas, Mills said.
He presented some statistics as illustration. The years 2008 to 2011 saw an increase of 5,500 jobs in the public sector. During the same period jobs in the private sector were down by 2,800.
The province has 28.5 per cent of its workers employed by the public sector, compared to the national average of 21 per cent. Mills said that’s part of the reason Nova Scotia has placed last in economic growth in the Atlantic region for much of the past 20 years.
If the name sounds familiar, as an aside, Mills and Corporate Research Associates conducted the recent survey commissioned by The News on local governance. Some comments on The News website claimed the polling firm worked for the province. This would suggest otherwise.
We’re hearing more and more these days about troubled public sector pensions, a portion of which is subsidized by private sector workers. We also hear of contract renewals and debate over the wage increase expected – and whether the public purse can afford it.
Jobs are always welcome. But growing the economy depends on private enterprise.
When government talks about reducing the number of jobs in the civil service, we need to keep that in mind. The role of government should not primarily be to employ people, but to smooth the way for private companies to set up shop.