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The Halifax Index: Economy


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Universities account for 38% of R&D spending in Nova Scotia.
More collaboration between the public, private, and academic communities would be a boon to the research and innovation culture in the province.


Key Findings

  • Halifax’s GDP grew by 1.9% to $18.1 billion in 2013, keeping pace with the national average. This was the third fastest growth among benchmark cities. GDP per capita grew by 1.4% to $44,300 in 2013, twice the Canadian average growth and also the third fastest among benchmark cities.
  • The Halifax housing market has shifted in the past several years from the development of single detached housing, which has fallen to its lowest level since 1980, to the development of apartment housing, which has continued to surge for the third year in a row.
  • Building permit values cooled in 2013, bringing them closer to historically average levels after three record-breaking years.
  • Movements of people and cargo through the Halifax Gateway continued to show strength in 2013, with the airport marking its third busiest year and the port seeing another near-record year for cruise ship activity.
  • Business confidence slipped for the second year in a row, but remained relatively positive. About 80% of businesses are optimistic about their current economic prospects in Halifax, although most only moderately so.

Key Opportunity

  • Investment in R&D and innovation is a key driver of economic growth and opportunities. In Nova Scotia, R&D investment is led by the academic sector, while private and government investment lags behind the national average. Increased cooperation and coordinated R&D strategies between the academic, public, and private sectors would be a boon to the region’s culture of innovation.

        View the full report for detailed findings on the following topics (download pdf)

        • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

        • Sectors

        • Consumer Behaviour

        • Construction

        • Commercial Space

        • Gateway Movement

        • Business Confidence


        Download the 2014 Halifax Index

        The 2014 Halifax Index tracks our progress towards many different indicators and our special analyses tackle two of our most pressing issues – the sustainability of our workforce and our innovation culture.

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        The Halifax Index 2014 (PDF)

        2014 Workbook (Excel)