Greater Halifax Partnership Releases 2013 Halifax Index

Media Release



Greater Halifax Partnership Releases 2013 Halifax Index


Halifax, NOVA SCOTIA- May 22, 2013 – Halifax is firmly in the middle of the pack of economic performance but performing below potential, according to the Greater Halifax Partnership’s 2013 Halifax Index released at the State of the Economy Conference earlier today.  The city could be attracting and retaining more people, creating more higher wage jobs, and broadening and stabilizing its tax base – key outcomes that are at the heart of a growing economy.


“If we don’t feel like finishing middle of the pack every year is good enough for our city, then we need to make economic growth our priority,” says Fred Morley, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at Greater Halifax Partnership. “We need to start making decisions based on maximizing the benefits to our community and to our businesses, and behaving very differently than we have in the past.”


The Halifax Index is a definitive look at Halifax's economic and community progress that reaches beyond traditional economic indicators like GDP and jobs. Ittells the city’s story – the strength of our economy, the health of our community, and the sustainability of our environment – and provides insights for actions that will strengthen and grow our city. Findings from The2013 Halifax Index indicate that there’s a need to rethink and reset our approach to growth.


“There are several major projects on the horizon in Halifax and the region which offer the possibility of achieving big results.  At a minimum they will create jobs, tax revenue and growth on their own, but they can also be a catalyst for new innovation and business clusters that can live on well past the project’s end date,” says Morley. “We have an opportunity through major project activity, a change in attitude and growth-oriented decision making to create the conditions for better outcomes well into the future for Halifax, our province and the region.”


The Halifax Index is divided into four key areas – people, economy, quality of place and sustainability It measures Halifax against five benchmark cities across a range of key indicators: Quebec City, QC; London, ON; Regina, SK; Victoria, BC; and St. John’s, NFLD.


2013 Halifax Index Highlights:

·         Halifax’s population is ageing. The population in 2012 had 8,000 fewer people aged 0-14 than in 2011 while adding over 16,000 people over the age of 65. Ninety-seven per cent of the increase in the labour force between 2006 and 2012 in Halifax was individuals aged 45 and older. (pg. 7)

·         Halifax’s GDP growth was below the national average in 2012 and third highest among the six benchmark cities. (pg. 16)

·         More people are moving through the Halifax Gateway (air and cruise passengers). Cargo totals improved slightly in 2012, however slow global economic recovery led to marginal growth. (pg. 21)

·         Business confidence dipped slightly in 2013, however remained reasonably positive. Nearly 9/10 businesses are optimistic about their economic future in Halifax, although most moderately so. (pg. 22)

·         Halifax’s productivity continues to be an issue; it grew very little in 2012 and lagged behind other benchmark cities. (pg. 16)

·         Retail and housing markets continue to be strong in Halifax – retail sectors grew 4.1% in 2012 while new housing prices increased 6.6%. (pg. 18)

·         Business Confidence research indicates that only 9% of firms in Halifax are planning to make major investments in research and development in the next year. (pg 25)

·         Continued low income growth is putting pressure on the city’s affordability. While incomes increased at a greater rate than overall prices, the gap in growth was lowest in Halifax in 2012. (pg. 29)

·         Enrolment growth in Halifax universities continued to be above the national average. Community college enrolments remained steady in 2012 after big gains since 2006. (pg. 8)

·         Halifax is a relatively healthy and active city in comparison to its benchmark cities and the life expectancy is middle of the pack. (pg. 30)

·         Overall life satisfaction is exceptionally high in Halifax, but community belonging remains low. (pg. 31)


To download the complete 2013 Halifax Index visit



About Greater Halifax Partnership
The Greater Halifax Partnership is the lead economic development organization for Greater Halifax, the economic hub of Atlantic Canada. More than 130 of Greater Halifax’s most influential businesses and all three levels of government invest in the Partnership. With their support, the Partnership leverages every municipal economic tax dollar three times to build business confidence, secure business stability and growth, research and report economic trends, and remove roadblocks on behalf of business.




Krista Hall