We keep hearing – or being told – that Newfoundland and Labrador is on the up and up. Where once they stood on leaky rubbers, we stand. In the finest sealskin boots.

Indeed, a recent Conference Board of Canada report says our oil production and investment last year put us at the top of the country, economy-wise. However, it projects our economy will grow by a modest 0.5 per cent this year, 1.1 per cent the next.

The report echoes a warning many economists and researchers seem to repeat quite often: “Like many economies dependent on natural resources, economic growth can be volatile.” It also says the province’s construction boom will slow – as we may already be noticing.

Outside of the oil and gas industry, it’s pretty slim pickings for jobs that will pay enough to cover the basic necessities, whilst paying off student loans and saving for a future.

You can hear it from contractors to cab drivers over the past year, “Yes, my dear, she’s slowing down a bit now.” Slowing from quite a hectic pace, mind you, but nonetheless.

So where are the riches? They’ve certainly benefited us, as there is no denying the economic boom our province has enjoyed. They’re certainly in many of the houses, cars, and restaurants. Maybe even in some of our power problems: where more mansions with higher electricity needs – and less concern for the cost – were cited as one of the reasons for stress on our power grid.

Our economic prosperity is something to be appreciated. Yet it is also something to be properly managed, so we don’t live in fear of a pending mass exodus.

As Dr. Rob Greenwood, of Memorial University’s Harris Centre, has said: in order to live somewhere, people need decent-paying jobs first; culture and quality of life second.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, $295,199 is the average price for homes sold in this province in May, up eight per cent from May 2013.

With these prices, a household has to earn over $82,500 a year for housing to be affordable, or take up less than 30 per cent of your income before taxes are deducted.

And not everyone below that income threshold is eligible for housing subsidies. So, in St. John’s at least, a new plan has been approved to make housing more affordable for more people.

Grand. I guess we just need to get plans for the rest of the province, and better infrastructure to go with the housing. I hear some highways still aren’t paved.

Again, what does our economic prosperity really look like?

Provincial sales tax has not decreased (nor should it, but still). We have not received $400 cheques from the government (remember when Alberta did that?)

Minimum wage is going up by 25 cents in October, the first increase since 2010. Many of the jobs currently advertised, particularly those for students, pay $10 an hour. Perhaps the idea is that once they finish school they’ll get well-paying jobs to be able to quickly pay off that debt?

Then there’s this line in Statistics Canada’s May 2014 Labour Force Survey:

“Provincially, employment increased in Alberta, while it declined in Newfoundland and Labrador. There was little overall employment change in all other provinces.”

Developing a province’s economy and building a future for its people cannot be done on the back of one industry alone.

It’s not a partisan issue, it’s something that requires attention from all levels of government, and people all over the province.

Although there is a fairly significant vacancy we have to be filled. Perhaps more people should apply for the premier’s job.