Halifax's economy is holding its own

Halifax’s economy is holding its own.  Thank you for clicking through to find out why. 

The world’s economy is slowing, Communities around-the-world are feeling the pinch.  Because of its diverse economic makeup, Halifax is not expected to be subject to the same degree of turbulence felt in other cities across the Continent.

Although it is inevitable that we will feel the strains of the recession here in Halifax, it will likely not be felt as significantly or as quickly in the cycle. Hopefully by that time the government’s economic stimulus packages should be active and will further buffer us from the global turmoil. 

Here are some facts that prove why Halifax’s Economy is holding its own…

1. Halifax’s Diverse Economy

We have always been somewhat sheltered from economic downturn because of our uniquely diversified and stable economy.  The combination of the Navy and other government spending, together with universities, hospitals, a large and stable service sector and a growing population provides a very strong foundation. 

Our economy, unlike the resource or manufacturing based economies in Ontario and Quebec that have seen tens-of-thousands of layoffs and economic turmoil since October 2008. 

Halifax’s top employers are well positioned industries.  Healthcare, education and defense-related aerospace, for example are not as prone to the same market volatility as other industries. 

2. Employment

Over the past few months there have been significant job losses nationally, with over 300,000 people losing their jobs.  Halifax has had some notices of layoffs, and we can expect to hear of more in the coming months. However, for the most part employment has been increasing and growth in August continued at a five year high in Halifax (216,300)

This trend is expected as traditionally, Halifax comes into the recession later than the rest of the country and pulls out earlier, as has been the case during recessions in the mid 80s, early 90’s and 2002.   We will feel some pain, but it will not be as severe as in other parts of Canada. 

Stable employment levels are an essential component of a stable economy as it keeps housing prices level.  This is important because although personal investments may be decreasing, a homeowner can be reassured that the equity they have built up in their home is secure.

3. Building construction is stable; resulting from increases of investments in multiple dwelling residential construction and industrial, institutional and commercial buildings across Halifax being built by both the public and private sectors. 

Some upcoming and ongoing projects within Halifax include:

• Mainland Common Recreational Centre valued at $40.5million
• Bedford West Development, a 20 year project worth an estimated $1billion
• The Ravines of Bedford South, a 15 year project worth $600million
• Bedford Commons development valued at nearly $300million
• Dartmouth Crossing retail/commercial development, 9 year project estimated at $260million
• Construction of a new School for the Hammonds Plains area valued at $14million.
• Shearwater base expansion valued at nearly $100 million
• Port of Halifax spending estimated at $139 million
• Life Sciences Research Institute, valued at $60 million
• Halifax waterfront site development, valued at $90 million
• University capital spending estimated at $75 million

4. Businesses are concerned but individually they are telling us that they are doing well; the majority of businesses that we have spoken to individually believe that the future will be better:  Their confidence can be seen in their decisions to continue to expand and create jobs in Greater Halifax.

Some examples are:

• Lockheed Martin, One of the world's largest defense companies is expanding with plans to create up to 100 new jobs within the next five years, The new positions will range from software engineers to computer systems analysts.  Lockheed Martin's expansion project will upgrade the Canadian Naval command and control systems on Halifax-class frigates.

• Fleetway Inc., A leading Canadian naval engineering and technical services company announced its intentions to expand its Halifax operations and create over 100 high-skilled jobs over the next 5 years Fleetway's new jobs in Halifax will include engineers, technical staff and management positions.

• Admiral Insurance, announced in mid 2008 that it plans to create up to 400 jobs in Halifax within the next five years, the new jobs will include insurance renewals and sales, while primarily serving clients in the United Kingdom.

• Flagstone announced in March 2009 that it will expand to fill 80 new positions over the next three years. The company hires people with graduate degrees, doctorate degrees, and highly specialized technical skills for jobs in finance and IT infrastructure and provides a highly competitive compensation package of nearly $100,000 or more.

• Lixar IT Inc., a web technology services company, plans to create up to 50 full-time jobs in Halifax over the next six years

• Professional Quality Assurance Ltd., a Canadian leader in independent software testing plans to create up to 200 full-time jobs at its new location in Dartmouth.

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