Data is all about the numbers. Find out a few numbers that we track to improve our understanding of economic development in the region.

Find out what we do to attract external investment: follow the numbers

The number of jobs in a community is only one indicator of a healthy economy.

Enterprise Saint John pulls all the indicators and information it can in order to be better informed on the status of the local economy, and to aid decision making. Through the work we do for our community, we can impact these indicators both directly and indirectly. By helping local companies start and grow, attracting new companies, and leading key projects that will generate economic prosperity in the Saint John region.

Below are just a few of the indicators we track.

Workforce

The key measurement we track for workforce on a monthly basis is the number of people employed in our region, supplied by Statistics Canada. This is the number of jobs in our community and we want to examine not only the number, but also the trends and comparisons to other years and communities. Additionally, we track the size of the workforce: a growing workforce provides a labour pool for future growth and demonstrates an engaged community.

Trade and travel

As the traffic through Port Saint John increases so it follows that our exporters are selling more product, our truck drivers and logistics chains are getting more work, and that means more jobs in our region. Port Saint John is seeing double digit growth in its container traffic, one of the fastest growth rates in Canada, which is a healthy indicator.

With increased trade, investment, business confidence and consumer confidence comes increased air travel; with the Saint John Airport setting an all-time record for passenger numbers in 2014.

Business and consumer confidence

A confident business owner is more likely to invest in new machinery, an expanded workforce, or research and development. For this reason we track business confidence through the Saint John Chamber of Commerce’s annual business survey, and the CFIB’s “Communities in Boom” survey.

A consumer who feels secure in their job, or that the labour market has opportunities for them, is more likely to spend money on big ticket items. This may be a new car, renovations at their home, or it may be as simple as eating out at restaurants more regularly. Corporate Research Associates releases the results of their consumer confidence survey quarterly, with the last quarter demonstrating the highest confidence in over 5 years.

Real Estate

There are a number of measures here, and sometimes you’ll see one going in one direction and another in the other. These include new housing starts, new multi-unit starts, the number of house sales, the average house sale value, apartment vacancies, industrial vacancies and commercial vacancies.

Finally, as well as these regional numbers, we also look at how trends in the provincial and national economy can impact our region. It’s another area we track, as this helps us make local decisions that we might miss if we only focus on local or regional data.

In future posts, I hope to delve into some of these measurements in more detail. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions about what we’re looking at and how this data shapes our organization’s strategy.