By Fred Morley
Halifax may seem like a hot bed for strike action if you look at recent media reports. But last week my spidey-sense was telling me that we probably aren’t that far out of whack with the rest of the country. I thought it was time to investigate.
When people want to gauge the weather they look out the window. A meteorologist tends to look at recent and historical weather data. When people want to get a sense of the economy they look at media, they rely on long standing perceptions, or they call a friend. An economist tends to stick their head into the data…analyzing recent data and historical trends.
Looking at HRSDC’s Labour Data Base provides good comparative data on hours lost due to strikes in Canada. Last year, Nova Scotia lost 240 hours….that’s thirty people for a day…30 person days if you will. This compares to close to 1700 person days in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick and 44,000 person days in Ontario. I think 30 vs. 44,000 days lost would tend to indicate that Nova Scotia should not be considered a hot bed of labour unrest…at least not last year.
But what about our track record? Only PEI had fewer hours lost in total and on a per person basis. So overall, Nova Scotia seems to have one of the most stable labour relations environments anywhere despite recent challenges.
So when you are wondering about the economy…don’t call a friend…call your friendly neighbourhood economist.
|Person Hours Lost to Strike|
|2011||2007 – 2011 Average||Hours/Person|
Source: HRSDC Labour Database, Statistics Canada Population Estimates
Fred Morley is the Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at the Greater Halifax Partnership.