Actually employment has not really grown much lately, other than for seasonality.
The unemployment rate in Saskatoon as of Feb 2012 is 6%. Note that this is during housing, household spending, resources, City of Saskatoon and Provincial Government spending booms.
So what does this all mean?
To me, it looks like Saskatoon is headed down a path of a higher structural unemployment rate
Structural unemployment is a form of unemployment resulting from a mismatch between demand in the labour market and the skills and locations of the workers seeking employment. Even though the number of vacancies may be equal to, or greater than, the number of the unemployed, the unemployed workers may lack the skills needed for the jobs; or they may not live in the part of the country or world where the jobs are available.Sound familiar? We have all heard about the "skilled labor shortage" here. Heck, the Saskatchewan Government spent a pile of money to entice Irish workers to come here. But it seems that the growth in the labor force population Saskatoon is experiencing is not the type of population that is translating into higher employment. The above graphs of employment and participation rates prove this. The reason for this is not clear. But think this is just a Saskatchewan problem? Think again, as it happened in the US before their housing and credit bubbles burst and melted their economy.
From CNN MONEY in 2007. Skilled worker shortage hurts the US
The biggest problem with job growth right now isn't too few new jobs. It's too few skilled workers.Some experts say part of the blame for the slowdown in the economy in last year's second half can be laid on labor constraints - companies couldn't expand as fast as they wanted due to a lack of workers with the right skills. The unemployment rate in December stayed at 4.5 percent.
Good thing it's different in Canada and Saskatoon.
Believing "endless growth" and the good times will continue forever could be costly to taxpayers down the road if any of the booms end. Why? Because not only does population stimulus cost taxpayers money, but so will immigrants who move here but do not fare well economically speaking. International immigration is near 50% of Saskatoon's population growth.
Why this growth could be costly. From the Frasier Institute Recent Immigrants not faring as well as those who arrived before 1987, costing taxpayers more than $16 billion annually.
“Immigrants arriving in Canada since 1987 are not doing as well economically as immigrants who arrived before 1987,”If the people growing our population can not fill the "skilled labor shortage", they could be a burden on tax payers. They will spend an exorbitant amount of their take home pay on housing, which means there is less money going into the local economy. Which also means they are more likely to use social programs.
“As a result of Canada’s welfare-state policies, our progressive income taxes, and universal social programs, these immigrants impose a huge fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers of between $16 billion and $23 billion annually.”
Our "jobless boom" and nation leading population growth is leading Saskatoon down the road to a higher rate of structural unemployment unless we turn the corner and employment starts growing. A housing and/or resource bust would put a damper on household, city of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Government spending. A higher rate of unemployment along with lower participation and employment rates would continue. I believe Saskatoon's economy is diversified enough to turn this around but can Saskatoon do this with less reliance on housing? It will be tough, especially with the fact that most, if not all business and policy leaders fail to see the housing bubble here.