East Coast provinces see one per cent drop in employment in first quarter

HALIFAX – Atlantic Canada saw a net drop of about 12,000 jobs in the first four months of this year compared to the same time period in 2015, according to a study released today by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

That’s a decline of about one per cent of the roughly 1.1 million people working on the East Coast.

Senior economist Fred Bergman says the biggest portion of those exiting the workforce had been working in call centres and other support services, a sector that shed about 7,500 jobs — most of them in either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

Bergman said in an interview that about 3,300 public sector jobs were lost and there were also big drop losses in the information, culture and recreation sector, which includes job losses in the film industry and the media.

The economist says private and public education saw a drop of 2,800 jobs, and there is also a steady exodus of people retiring from the workforce.

Bergman says there were increases in employment in manufacturing, health care, personal services and in the financial sector that offset some of the losses in other industries.