By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - A new report on Halifax’s economic status suggests the city is chugging steadily away with a middle-of-the-road and slightly underwhelming performance.
“We’re doing okay, we’re in the middle of the pack,” said Fred Morley, chief economist with the Greater Halifax Partnership. “We’re average, but we’re probably below potential.”
The GHP released the second annual Halifax Index Wednesday, a document measuring the city’s economic and community progress as it compares to five other Canadian cities.
Among the key findings is that although Halifax’s population is growing slowly but steadily, the under-14 population shrank by 8,000 from 2011 to 2012, while the over-65 segment grew by 16,000.
“Clearly we’re an aging demographic, and we have to think about how we retain more of our young professionals,” said Morley. “That’s why people talk about the fight for talent… cities that can attract and hold people will be the winners in the future.”
Morley said the GHP is working on a “bookend” approach to entice more regional and head office companies to Halifax.
“We want to see those kinds of companies with deep roots and expanding in Halifax…those are the kinds of jobs we want,” he said.
The partnership is also working with government to improve the business climate and smooth the path for young entrepreneurs and small business, and he said the municipal branding exercise will help with marketing efforts to the business community.
Overall, Morley said the index shows Halifax’s performance remains steady and even somewhat boring.
“Halifax kind of continued to grow right through the recession and it’s still on this even keel,” he said. “Halifax is just boring and predictable, steady growth.”