Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oil-Dependent Newfoundland and Labrador Lacks Competitive Edge, Study Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oil-Dependent Newfoundland and Labrador Lacks Competitive Edge, Study Says

Article excerpt

Newfoundland competitiveness lags: study

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - It has come a long way economically in the last 15 years but oil-dependent Newfoundland and Labrador needs innovation and a workforce influx to compete in future, says a new report.

The Conference Board of Canada released Thursday a study comparing the province to nine of its main competitors, selected for similar exports among other factors. They include Norway, the United Kingdom, Texas, North Dakota, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

It ranks the province's gross domestic product and labour productivity in the middle of the pack.

"However, growth of these indicators over the past five years has been slow, indicating that overall competitiveness is slipping," it says.

The 108-page report commissioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council was written by Jacqueline Palladini, a senior economist.

She assessed competitiveness based on innovation, investment, human capital and the business and policy climate.

Newfoundland and Labrador has a quickly greying workforce with scores of retirements expected over the next decade, Palladini said from Ottawa. "It is the oldest economy that we looked at in our study.

"This will pose a profound challenge for the province as it has to compete against these other jurisdictions that are frankly doing better at attracting migration and skilled workers."

Newfoundland and Labrador heavily relies on mining and oil sectors that expose it to price volatility.

Finance Minister Ross Wiseman has said the province is on track for a $916-million deficit when the spring budget is tabled by the end of this month. …

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