Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remittances revisited

The latest CBC radio feature, The Big Commute, and the corresponding The Bond Papers post cover the issue of remittances and work-related migrations.

CBC doesn't use the word remittances specifically and prefers to deal with the grander social issues of large numbers of NLers commuting back and forth to Alberta. And well they should, too; no doubt time will show that their boomtown social problems will become our small town social problems.

Back in February I started looking at this issue and wondered at the time just how much money was coming into the province and providing support to towns which otherwise seemed to have no visible means of support.

With CBC estimating 4000-10,000 commuters making an estimated $80-120,000 per year, that means no less than $320M and possibly as much as $1.2B a year in salaries coming into the province.

At the high end, that makes commuters one of the largest group of employees (by gross salary) in the province and a source of financial inflows larger than equalization or oil revenues. It might be as high as 8.5% of the total provincial GDP which puts us not far off Bangladesh in terms of dependency on remittances.

I've pointed out before that government seemed indifferent to the issue; it's nice to see that government has taken to looking into the issue. Let's see what information comes out.

No comments: