Work encompasses many different kinds of labour— self employment, employment, paid, unpaid and volunteer. When we have a sense of security about our work we can look beyond making a living day to day and contribute more to the totality of life in our community.
A living wage is based on what a family of four with two children aged 4 and 7 and both parents working full-time needs for food, clothing and footwear, shelter, transportation, child care, MSP premiums, non-covered health expenses, some continuing education for parents, and a two-week contingency cushion in the event of job loss or other loss of income. 85% of families in BC are headed by couples and 62% have two or more children. Based on this methodology the living wage for Powell River is $21.30/hour or $38,766/year. In 2010, there were 13,510 income earners in Powell River (CA). Of those, 53% earned below $30,000 and 39% earned below $20,000 for the year. Paying a living wage and preventing child poverty are very much linked, since the vast majority of poor children live in families with working parents.
Employment by Industry
It is surprising to many people, but the mill, the forest industry and aquaculture do not provide most of the jobs for Powell Riverites. In 2011, the top five industries for the labour force aged 15 and over in Powell River (CA) were retail trade (15.2%), health care & social assistance (13.7%), manufacturing (8.8%), construction (8.3%) and accommodation & food services (7.0%). The percentages in this report and in the 2011 Vital Signs report are not directly comparable because of changes in the way the province measures jobs, but the top three industries are unchanged from those reported four years ago.
In 2010, the unemployment rate in Powell River was 8%, slightly above the national and provincial level of 7.8%. This was an increase of 1.6 percentage points over the 2006 unemployment rate of 6.4%. There are signs of recent improvements in employment. In 2014, on average 411 residents received Employment Insurance benefits each month. This was a 4% decrease from 428 recipients in 2013. And, this measure has been dropping steadily since 2009.
According to the National Household Survey, in 2010 the median income for men in Powell River aged 15 years and over who worked full time and full year was $55,087. The median income for women in the same group was $37,489. This means that women earned only 68% of men’s earnings. In 2006, that number was 69.5%, so the earning power for women is slightly worse and trending in the wrong direction. The gap in Powell River was larger than for BC as a whole in 2010. Province-wide, men earned a median income of $55,334 and women earned $42,839 or 77.4% of men’s earnings.
From the Survey …
Over the past four years, how do you think the number of full-time jobs has changed?
When it comes to full time jobs, men are more likely to say they have seen the situation improving, while women perceive the situation as getting a little worse. This difference between the sexes may be explainable by the “gender gap” in income.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Career Link reports that between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, there were 1260 Powell River jobs posted (at Career Link and elsewhere). Top industries for these jobs were Retail Trade (17.5%), Food Services & Accommodation (21.1%) and Health Care & Social Assistance (21%). Construction, the top industry in 2010-2011, dropped to 6% of jobs posted. The job picture seems to have improved recently. 721 clients attended appointments related to finding new positions at Career Link in 2014/15, a 43% drop over 2010/11.