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Friday, July 30, 2010

Couple Letters - Unemployment & Poverty

A recent story in the Daily News Nanaimo welfare rates up, provincial numbers down mentions an 8% increase in income assistance application since the same period last year. This is a bit misleading in that it only talks about those applications in the expected to work category. Truth be told there are approximately 13,000 people or more on income assistance.

Another story Jobeless rate in Nanaimo drops 1% in one month for which I wrote this first letter seems to contradict the above though reality is without proper disclosure of numbers pretty much anything is up for interpretation. The 2nd letter briefly mentions the higher rate Jobless rate in Nanaimo climbs over last years numbers but also talks about BC's record of longstanding Child Poverty.

In a society such as ours it is shameful the rates of poverty and homelessness exist in the numbers they do.

July 16, 2010
Unemployment Rates

The fact that unemployment in Nanaimo dropped from 9% to 8% in June may not be cause for jubilation. Generally an increase in employment usually takes place during the summer though these are primarily low paying service based jobs with little likelihood of permanency. Still there are no real statistics to say an increase in employment in Nanaimo is the reason for the decrease and so perhaps other reasons should be explored.

One reason might be apparent when looked at in conjunction to the rise of the vacancy rate in Nanaimo to 4.4% in June. A correlation between the drop in unemployment and the rise in vacancy rates is not unfathomable and perhaps both are due simply to people leaving the community for better prospects elsewhere.

Then, of course you have those on EI whose claims may have run out and until they apply and are catalogued as Income Assistance recipients will be in limbo statistically. That is of course if they aren’t already among those who have migrated elsewhere.

One thing that is evident is the decrease to unemployment will have little or no effect on the endemic poverty that exists in the community. As a service based economy Nanaimo is affected by lower wages and part time employment, both of which affect the living standards of families

As summer wanes the jobs created for the season will end and unemployment will climb in Nanaimo as it inevitably does.

June 25, 2010

Re Child Poverty Rates

So once again BC tops the provinces for the highest child poverty rates in Canada. Since coming to power in 2001 the Provincial Government of BC has ensured this dubious honour being imparted for one of the longest continuous periods of any province.

While the Child Poverty numbers may have dropped, it is important to note the statistics this is based on are from the boom times of 2007, across BC they in no way reflect the reality of today in Nanaimo. At 9% Nanaimo has one of the highest unemployment rates in the province.

This is based on employable income assistance and employment insurance recipients. It does not take into account the many income assistance recipients categorized as persons with persistent multiple barriers, persons with disability or the many families that are exempt from searching for work if they have a child under the age of three. With all of the above we are looking at over well over 13,000 people.

Nanaimo’s overall poverty rate, when one takes into account low income cut offs, the income a person or family needs to be categorized above the poverty line, or based on a person or family spending more than 30% of their income on housing, would put poverty rates at close to 50% for the population in Nanaimo.

Don’t get me wrong, and lest I paint too bleak a picture, Nanaimo is a great place to live overall and its citizens would likely be well above average when it comes to volunteerism and giving.

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