Nova Scotia’s population peaked near the end of 2011 and has been decreasing since with population declines in all economic regions with the exception of Halifax. Cape Breton has had the highest population declines each year for the last three years. Meanwhile, Halifax is the only region in Nova Scotia with population increases in each of the last the three years. Halifax’s population increased by 3% in 2014 compared to 2011 while Cape Breton’s decreased 4% in the same time period. Nova Scotia’s overall population declined by 0.2% in 2014 compared to 2011.
Nova Scotia’s overall employment level has been stagnant; it increased by 0.1% in 2014 compared to prerecession levels of 2007. Employment levels are partly influenced by the declining population in most of the province’s economic regions. With an increase of 6.7% in 2014 compared to 2007, the Halifax region is the only province where employment has increased past the prerecession levels of 2007. In 2014, employment had decreased by 8.9% in the Southern region, 5.6% in the Cape Breton region, 4.1% in the Northern region, and 4.7% in Annapolis Valley compared to 2007.
Nova Scotia’s labour market has been relatively stagnant in the last few years and high unemployment rates have persisted in most regions since 2009. Overall, the unemployment rate declined from 9.2% in 2009 to 9.0% in 2014. Among the five economic regions, Cape Breton, Northern and Halifax regions had unemployment rates of 15.0%, 10.7%, and 6.1% respectively in 2014 compared to 2009. These regions were the only regions with lower unemployment rates in 2014 than observed in 2009. The unemployment rates for Annapolis Valley and Southern regions were 8.9% and 12% respectively in 2014 and were higher than rates in 2009. The Southern region had the highest unemployment rate increase in 2014 compared to 2009.