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Nova Scotia’s jobless rate drops while national rate rises

Province added jobs in January through manufacturing, real estate sectors

2 min read
The CIBC building in downtown Halifax is seen through snow.
caption The CIBC building in downtown Halifax. The finance and insurance sector added 1,500 jobs in Nova Scotia in January.
Lane Harrison

Canada’s unemployment rate increased for the first time in nine months in January, but Nova Scotia’s jobless rate decreased, adding 2,700 new jobs over the last month.

The number of Nova Scotians with part-time jobs dropped by 8,100 while the province recorded an increase of 10,800 people working full-time, according to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey released on Friday. 

Nova Scotia is one of five provinces whose employment did not drop from December to January. The national drop in employment is driven by Ontario and Quebec, which lost 146,000 and 63,000 jobs respectively.

The report said this could entirely be attributed to “more people on temporary layoff or scheduled to start a job in the near future.”

The unemployment rate in the province is now seven per cent, a drop from 8.6 per cent in December. 

The largest increases in employment in Nova Scotia were in the manufacturing sector and the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector. 

“There’s been a shift from buying services like travel services, hospitality, dining, to buying assets. You know, you’re not going to the gym, but you’re buying gym equipment,” said Lars Osberg, an economics professor at Dalhousie University. 

“So there’s been a shift from services to goods and manufacturing.” 

The manufacturing sector added 900 jobs. 

Osberg said the added jobs in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector can be attributed to increasing housing prices in Nova Scotia and the ability to work from home. The sector added 2,500 jobs. Of that number, real estate and rental and leasing added 1,000 jobs while finance and insurance added 1,500. 

“​​In going back three, four years, lots of international organizations were worrying about an overpriced housing market in Canada, but prices just continued to go up,” he said. 

Housing prices in Nova Scotia will continue to increase, Matt Honsberger, owner of Royal LePage Atlantic, said in a December news release. 

“The chronic supply shortage is impacting sales volumes, which I expect will be lower in 2022, despite continued strong demand from buyers within and outside of the Maritimes,” said Honsberger.

The largest decrease in employment in the province was in the accommodation and food services sector, which has been hampered by the Omicron variant and staff shortages. That sector lost 3,300 jobs.  

Osberg said the drop in this sector can be attributed to COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining. 

“That’s where all these constraints hit first and hit hardest,” Osberg said. 

The demographic with the highest unemployment rate in Nova Scotia is young men aged 15 to 24. This is because “people under 25, under 30, are typically bringing your meals in a restaurant or a bar, right?” said Osberg. 


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About the author

Lane Harrison

Lane Harrison is a fourth-year multimedia journalist from Toronto, Ontario. He works as the editor-in-chief of the Dalhousie Gazette, Dalhousie's...

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