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GREATER HALIFAX ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT: FIRST QUARTER 2009 1st Quarter Overview • st Halifax’s economy held its own during the 1 quarter of 2009, in the face of one of the worst recessions the world has seen. Halifax’s diverse economy has allowed for other areas to pick up where others are struggling. • With the world markets still struggling to stabilize it is expected that Halifax will not be immune to the effects of the recession. In the coming months of 2009, Halifax’s labourforce may see employment growth begin to slow, there may be more lay offs, and Halifax will likely experience some flat growth or declines in GDP before things begin to improve. Labour Force • Despite the global recession Halifax’s labourforce has continued to maintain momentum; employment and labour participation are well outpacing the national and provincial trends which have seen record declines. • Employment grew by 1,700 jobs from January to the end of March 2009, as compared to the first quarter of 2008 which had a decrease of 700 jobs. Halifax was second, behind St. John NB, among a select group of six CMA’s who have posted employment growth since December. • Notwithstanding these gains in employment the unemployment rate climbed to 6.0 during the 1st quarter of 2009 from 5.6 in the 4th quarter of 2008. • There have also been significant increases in the size of Halifax’s labourforce which grew by 1.9% since December 2008 and 4.7% Since March 2008. 1
Labour Force cont’d • In spite of the Global economic crisis, and indeed some lay offs, Companies continued to forge ahead with expansion plans and investment in the labourforce: Halifax labourforce 1st quarter 2009 News: • Teletech Holdings Inc. will hire 100 by the end of February • Nautel Ltd. Hired 30 new workers • Halifax Shipyard will hire 200 new positions in relation to the Deep Panuke Project • Flagstone Reinsuance Holdings Inc will create 80 new positions • Mil‐Aero Electronics intended to hire five or six new employees by the end of February • Halifax chronicle Herald laid off 33 workers • RKO Steel Ltd. Laid off 40 workers • AMEX Call centre closed, 87 employees have lost their jobs. Housing • The Halifax housing market was not unaffected by the global economic turmoil and credit crunch. Most investors and buyers continued to hold a cautious, wait and see approach. • Housing starts experienced a 35% decrease in the first quarter of 2009, over the first quarter of 2008, with the largest decline in Single starts, and no condo starts at all, compared to 38 condo starts in the first quarter of 2008. 1st Quarter 2008 1st Quarter 2009 % Change Single Starts 204 104 ‐49% Multiple Starts 219 170 ‐22% Total Starts 423 274 ‐35% • Housing sales also decreased 13%, between the 1st quarter of 2008 and 2009. In contrast, there is also a 14% increase in active listings in March 2009, over March 2008. • Despite the decline in sales, the average prices have continued to rise; the average price of a home in the 1st quarter of 2009 sold for $228,827, as compared to $221,473 in the 1st quarter of 2008 2
Office/Commercial/Industrial Space Vacancy Office Space Vacancy Class A Class B Class C % % % Downtown 1.6 5.1 7.0 Halifax Peripheral 27.9 6.5 16.5 Halifax Dartmouth 15.2 13.9 7.3 Bedford/Sackville 12.1 8.7 2.8 • The provincial legislature passed legislation in the fall of 2008 allowing the HRM by Design plan to become law. The plan is a balance between heritage preservation and growth, with a goal to increase the population of those living downtown. Industrial Space Vacancy Rate % Halifax/ 4.3 Bayers Lake 2.8 Ragged Lake 0.0 Atlantic Acres 9.4 Sackville 8.7 Bedford 11.4 Burnside Industrial Park 9.3 • Two of the main roads in the Atlantic Gateway Halifax Logistics Park, Wilkinson and Burbridge Avenues became accessible during the 1st quarter of 2009 from the Wright Avenue extension. Halifax Logistics Park is a newly created phase of Burnside Business Park that advances the Logistics Park Concept. Land prices in this area range from $4.05 ‐ $4.50 per square foot. Lots available for sale off John Savage Avenue that are designed for Office construction are listed at $5.50/sf. 3
Investment • Investment in non residential construction increased 36% in Halifax during the 1st quarter of 2009 over 1st quarter 2008, and 2 % over the 4th quarter 2008. Surpassing the national average increase of 3.2% over the 1st quarter and ‐1.7% over the 4th quarter of 2008. • The number of building permits increased 4% in the first quarter 2009 over 1st quarter 2008, based largely on the increase in multiple units. • The value of those building permits have declined 22.5% in the 1st quarter of 2009 over 1st quarter 2008. Investment in Halifax 1st Quarter 2009: • Armour Transportation opened a $15 Million logistics facility in Burnside • Canadian Tire is set to begin its new store in Bedford Commons • 220 Condominiums are also slated to be developed in Bedford Commons • Banc Properties is also building 82 Semi Detached homes in Halifax • Nautel recently added $1million in new manufacturing equipment Airport and Port Activity • The global recession and credit crunch have had an impact on the 1st quarter activity of Halifax’s airports and shipping port, which have both recorded declines in their business lines over 2008. Airport • Passengers enplaned and deplaned at Halifax Stanfield International Airport decreased 11.4% during the 1st quarter of 2009 over the 1st quarter of 2008. • In March 2009, Halifax Stanfield International Airport was awarded the worlds best airport for overall passenger satisfaction in its class (under five million passengers) for the sixth straight year. HSIA earned three first‐place finishes and one second‐place finish in the 2008 rankings: First in overall passenger satisfaction for airports worldwide with under five million passengers First in the Best Airport ‐ North America category First ‐ for the third straight year ‐ in the Americas in the category of Airport People Awards Second in the Best Domestic Airport category 4
Port • Total cargo in metric tones increased slightly (0.4%) over the 1st quarter 2008. However, Containerized port in TEU’s (Twenty Foot Equivalent units) was down 29% the first quarter of 2009 over first quarter 2008, with an even decline in exports and imports. Halifax International Airport Authority 1st quarter 2009 News: • Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) opened its new Parkade at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2009 • March 2009, Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) announced that it had been ranked the worlds best airport for overall passenger satisfaction in its class (under five million passengers) for the sixth straight year • Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) announced today that a new international air cargo service will begin operation at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on March 31, 2009. Halifax Port 1st quarter 2009 News: • CMA CGM, the worlds 3rd largest container shipping company, has announced plans to initiate a new service which includes a regular call at the Port of Halifax. • The Halifax Port Authority’s board of directors today announced the re‐appointment of President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Oldfield. • Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) has been ranked the worlds best airport for overall passenger satisfaction in its class (under five million passengers) for the sixth straight year. 5
Economic Snapshot Mar 08‐09 Mar 08‐09 Dec‐08 Mar‐08 Mar‐09 1st Quarter 2009 % Change Trend LABOUR FORCE Employment (‘000) 213.1 208.9 215.9 3.4% Labour force size (‘000) 225.3 219.5 229.6 4.6% Participation rate 70.7% 69.6% 71.8 2.2 Unemployment rate 5.3% 4.8% 6.0 1.2 CONSUMPTION Inflation rate ‐0.1% 2.2% 0.2% ‐2 Retail sales ($ millions)* 6,084.0 1,525 1,458 ‐4.4% HOUSING Average housing prices $237,482 $221,473 $228,827 3.3% New housing price index 150.3 148.2 150.5 2.3 Housing starts* 2,096 423 274 ‐35% Housing sales* 6,205 501 436 ‐13% CONSTRUCTION Building permits 28.9 52.5 27.7 ‐47% ($ millions) Non‐residential construction 96 72 98 36% ($ millions) TRANSPORTATION Aircraft passengers* 3,578,931 814,786 721,226 ‐11.5% (enplaned/deplaned) Total Cargo Volume* 3,197,776 2,349,842 2,358,423 0.4% (metric tonnes) EDUCATION 2006‐2007 2007‐2008 2008‐2009 Full‐time University enrolment – Greater 23,478 23,812 23,512 ‐1.3% Halifax International student enrolment – Greater 2,258 2,329 2,423 4% Halifax Full‐time Nova Scotia Community College 3407 3834 4020 4.9% enrolment ‐ Greater Halifax Campuses * Cumulative – from January. *Sources: Statistics Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Port of Halifax, Atlantic Association of Universities, Halifax International Airport Authority, Nova Scotia Community College, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism 6