York Region’s Employment and Industry Report 2014 created a huge storm of controversy last month when it claimed Newmarket had seen a miniscule growth of 100 jobs over the period 2009-2014 while, next door, Aurora added a useful 5, 700 new jobs.

After uncharacteristically animated protests from Newmarket’s Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, and Regional Councillor, John Taylor, the report was sent back to staff for further “consultation with municipalities” and the re-worked version is coming up on Thursday 9 April at the Region’s Committee of the Whole.

Lo and behold, the new figures show an increase in Newmarket jobs from 100 to 570, though, sadly, the Town remains bottom of the league for job creation.

In order to boost the numbers, planning staff stripped out assumptions about job growth in those businesses they failed to contact by survey (19%) and those who refused to participate (1%).  Staff also excluded figures for home and farm based businesses. In Newmarket it had been assumed 100 people were employed in agriculture and 3,200 worked at home.

Across York Region in the five-year period in question, job growth was revised downwards from 77,000 to 71,910. You can read the revised report by clicking on “documents” in the panel top left and navigating to York Region.

The re-worked Table 5 gives employment by municipality 2004-2014. It retains a column for job growth 2009-2014 showing the new figures. An additional column gives 2014 “Activity Rates” measuring “the relationship between jobs and residents within a community”. This is calculated by dividing total employment by total population.

In this case, the figures include assumptions made about non-contactable businesses, farm and home working.

Will this tweaking be enough to satisfy the Mayor and Regional Councillor? Or will we see another blustering challenge to the new revised figures?

I doubt it. My money is on no debate at all.

The original #100 jobs figure was deeply embarrassing.

On Thursday, I suspect the caravan will move on, in silence.

Low Incomes in York Region

The Region’s Committee of the Whole will also be considering a report on low incomes.

We learn that 10.8% of Newmarket residents were on low incomes in 2012.

But the report tells us the majority of people on low incomes in York Region - about 84% - live in the three southern local municipalities of Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Low incomes are defined as

“income levels that are 50% of the Canadian after tax median income adjusted for family size and age of children. As an example, in 2012 the LIM-AT was $16,968 for a single person, $33,936 for a couple family with two children under 16 and $35,633 for a couple family with one child over 16 and one under 16.”

(Median income is simply mid point between the highest and lowest incomes.)

The report also tells us there has been a growth in so-called “precarious employment” with full time jobs, as a share of total employment, shrinking to 73.5% from 77.6% in 2003.

You can read the full report by clicking on “Documents” in the panel top left and navigating to York Region.

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