The kerfuffle over the 100 new jobs in Newmarket isn’t going away any time soon.

Mayor Tony Van Bynen and Regional Councillor John Taylor have both asked Newmarket staff to check and validate York Region's figures and report back.

If the “100 jobs” figure is accurate that’s bad news for Newmarket.

If it is inaccurate it is also bad news but in a different way.

The York Region Employment and Industry Report 2014 is compiled “with the assistance of local municipalities” and it describes the process for collecting and analysing the data. The Region was unable to contact 19% of businesses and 1% chose not to participate - but they make assumptions. It will be interesting to see how Newmarket staff mark the work of their colleagues at York Region. I suspect the caravan will silently move on and we shall hear no more about it.

Working for peanuts

The report makes a passing reference to precarious work. It detects a continuing shift away from full-time work.

“Over the past five years, there has been a shift in the shares of employment types with full-time employment decreasing from 75.6% to 73.5%, part-time employment decreasing from 19.9% to 19.0% and contract/seasonal employment increasing from 4.6% to 7.5%. The decrease in full-time employment can likely be attributed to the increase in retail/personal services jobs which are typically population-based and primarily generate part-time and seasonal/contract positions. Overall, sustained strength in full-time employment continues to bode well for York Region, since these positions normally provide increased stability, income, and opportunities for growth.”

The Employment and Industry Report 2014 tells us that over a quarter of people employed in York Region (27.3%) work in retail/personal services - which includes restaurants and fast food joints.

And of the 139,476 jobs in the sector, 43.5% are in retailing and 24% in accommodation and food.

This is a sector that typically pays low wages. The CIBC told us last week that Canadian job quality has sunk to a record low and “low paying jobs are becoming the norm”.

Perhaps next year’s report will tell us how much of Newmarket’s employment is precarious and doesn’t offer the pension and other benefits we used to take for granted. And how many people are scraping by on the minimum wage.

York Regional Expansion Building

The great debate on whether to locate the so-called "Region Administrative Annex Expansion Building" at the junction of Yonge Street and Highway 7 continues this Thursday (12 March 2015) at York Region's Committee of the Whole. It is currently planned to go next to the Region's Administrative HQ in Newmarket.