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Labour Force

EMPLOYMENT

Halifax’s labour force outcomes in 2012 were not what it is used to. The labour force grew by only 1,600 people or 0.7% in the last year – the lowest level of growth since the recession and below the Canadian average. This growth was only ahead of Quebec City among benchmark cities. 

This labour force growth was likely slowed due to sluggish employment growth – Halifax added 1,800 jobs in 2012, a 0.8% increase from 2011 levels. This was tied with London for the lowest proportional growth among benchmark cities and was below the national average. 

   
LABOUR FORCE POPULATION, 000s
(seasonally adjusted) 
PEOPLE_GRAPH5C-01
Source: Statistics Canada
   EMPLOYMENT, 000s
(seasonally adjusted)
  PEOPLE_GRAPH5D-01
Source: Statistics Canada
   

EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR FORCE BY AGE GROUP, 000s, HALIFAXLABOUR_GRAPH1E-01

Source: Statistics Canada


UNEMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION RATES

For the second straight year, Halifax saw the unemployment rate drop 0.1% to 6.1% in 2012 and remained over 1% below the national average. Among benchmark cities, Halifax was again third lowest in 2012 and also below Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. 

While the unemployment rate dropped, a larger drop in the participation rate suggests that a number of unemployed persons stopped looking for work and, therefore, were no longer part of the workforce. Halifax’s participation rate, 69.8%, was the lowest since 2008 and a half point lower than in 2011. Among benchmark cities, Halifax’s participation rate remains third highest and is still three points higher than the Canadian average.

One of the key areas Halifax needs to focus on is ensuring that there is a sustainable source of labour into the future. With many major opportunities on the horizon, Halifax will require more people to fill job openings. In 2012, those 15-24 years old in Halifax’s labour force declined by 800 people, and this age group has declined by 2,700 people since 2009. Further, all of the labour force growth in 2012 was among those 55-64 (400) and 65+ (2,100).

This demographic reality is mirrored in employment figures. Since 2009, the number of jobs held by those 15-24 years old has declined by 2,100 while gains were realized in those 25-54 (4,100), 55-64 (1,500), and 65+ (2,500.) In conjunction with the population stats (page 7)   that show a decline in the number of people aged 0-14, a decline in outcomes for those aged 15-24 threatens the long-term sustainability of our workforce. This will be covered in the special analysis on page 11.

In order for Halifax to continue to achieve economic growth and prosperity, growth in the labour force and in employment must occur. Workforce participants not only produce goods and services, but they also pay tax and purchase goods and services. Halifax needs to work hard to ensure it is attracting and retaining the right talent to enable economic growth into the future. 

   
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

PEOPLE_GRAPH5A-01
Source: Statistics Canada
   PARTICIPATION RATE

PEOPLE_GRAPH5B-01
Source: Statistics Canada

PARTNERS

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