Staffing up for summer

Andy Adams 2018 Edited 400

Mar 14, 2023

Both the Globe & Mail and Bloomberg had editorial this past week, talking about the employment picture across Canada. While the expectations were for an increase of about 10,000 new jobs, in fact Canada added almost 22,000 jobs last month, more than double expectations. That followed a blockbuster increase in January of 150,000 jobs added. 

In February, Canada’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 per cent while wage growth rose 5.4 per cent from the previous 4.5 per cent. The 5.0 per cent unemployment rate is close to an all-time low. Clearly, Canada is experiencing a continued tight labour market and that plays into the Bank of Canada’s concerns over a wage-price spiral.

I do understand the huge concern about runaway inflation. I’m old enough to remember when mortgage rates were at 18%. Those were crazy times, but I also remember a boom time in Canadian boat building when people were buying boats, especially big keel boats from C&C and others, that they could sail for a year and then sell the next year for more than they had paid.

What is your door rate (or the rate at marinas in your area)? Is it in line with what others are charging? Does it support your business needs with enough to increase what you pay your people by 5.4%?

The boating public will need to pony-up to cover those costs and raising rates and prices is something I believe our industry broadly tries to resist. I honestly believe we work hard to make boating as affordable as possible for as many people as possible. That’s admirable, but we need to survive and so do our people.

While I’m sympathetic to our central bank’s drive to contain inflation, it seems that the math just doesn’t work. Businesses need to have the personnel resources to be successful and, in an environment where we seem to have a shortage of workers, the only solution I can think of is to attract those people by offering a bigger paycheque. Then, the only way to cover that is to charge more. 

There may be one ray of sunshine for boating on this though. Bloomberg pointed out a weird quirk to the labour market these days – employment among core-aged Canadians (20 – 54) was essentially unchanged, while employment among those aged 55-64 rose by 25,000. There’s been a surge in employment for those nearing retirement age since last August, which may speak to concerns about how they’re feeling about their savings. One trip to the grocery store makes that clear. Good luck staffing up for summer!

Andy Adams – Editor

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