Town of Riverview / News / What's in a Number?

What's in a Number?

In economic development there are various measures by which we can gauge the state of an economy, and in particular how we monitor the ones that will ensure a healthy, sustainable economy over time. Clearly jobs are an important measure, and the number of people in a community who are employed and can afford to live and prosper is a metric that needs to grow.  

Look at your activity rate
It is difficult to calculate the unemployment rate for Riverview specifically as these numbers are reported on at the CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) level, or Greater Moncton. Greater Moncton consists of three municipalities: Riverview, Moncton and Dieppe, and is considered to be the fastest growing urban centre in the province. A more telling stat in my view is what we call the activity rate, which is the ratio of population to jobs. It may not surprise many to learn that 76% of the people of working age who are employed leave Riverview for work every morning. This is a troubling stat and one we should hope to change. 

Embrace being nimble
But let’s face it, most towns are largely residential. The commercial tax base is sitting at about 11% of the total and has been for some time. Which might appear to be stagnant, but we are growing. As a population by over 7 % as of the last census and in terms of tax base growth outpacing our sister communities on a percentage basis. So, as more people choose to live in Riverview our commercial sector is keeping pace at the 11%. But we would of course like to see that stat improve. 

Don't forget home-based business owners
What’s not captured in that stat though, and where Riverview is unique, is the significant percentage of people that not only choose to live here, but who also choose to work from the comfort of their own home. Freelancers account for nearly 20% of the businesses registered in Riverview. With the growing trend to have progressive employers offer the flexibility to work from home, and an increase in contract workers, this provides interesting challenges for economic developers to first of all, measure such activity, and second to provide a support mechanism that exists in more traditional industries. 

Our staff have begun to facilitate structured networking icebreakers to help freelancers meet fellow creative entrepreneurs that they can reach out to for support or help with projects. Perhaps more importantly, these types of functions allow them the chance to escape the “bubble” they may be stuck in working from home. 

Next: Read our previous article titled Leaky Bucket



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