Nova Scotians shut out of prosperity

November 14, 2008

HALIFAX – Nova Scotians are working harder and smarter but the majority have been denied the fruits of the economic growth they’ve helped create, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia (CCPA-NS).

Hard Working Province: Is It Enough? by Mathieu Dufour and Larry Haiven reveals Nova Scotia’s economy grew by 62 per cent in the past 20 years and workers’ productivity improved but their paycheques are shrinking.

“Nova Scotians are among the hardest workers in Canada and they have contributed to Nova Scotia’s decade of prosperity, but this report shows their paycheques are shrinking at a time when they should have been growing,” says report co-author Dufour.

The report shows Nova Scotians work more hours than most Canadians and do a lot more unpaid overtime but their weekly earnings are the second lowest in Canada. They dropped from $676.49 a week in 1991 to $658.94 in 2006, a five per cent decline.

“If those earnings reflected workers’ rise in productivity, Nova Scotians would have earned an average $826.21 a week in 2006,” says co-author Haiven. “Nova Scotians should have been enjoying a 22 per cent pay increase instead of a five per cent cut.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Nova Scotia’s 62 per cent economic growth rate outpaced Canada’s 51 per cent GDP growth between 1981 and 2006;
  • Nova Scotias’ labour productivity grew by 25 per cent since 1990;
  • Nova Scotians work more average hours than the rest of Canada; they are more likely to take extra work home and they’re less likely to take the vacation time owed them;
  • More than half – 57 per cent – of Nova Scotians worked unpaid overtime in 2007, which is also higher than the national average.
  • The bottom-line is that the share of the wealth generated by rising productivity going to workers has fallen, while the share going to business owners has risen.

For information or to arrange an interview, please contact: CCPA-NS Director Christine Saulnier at 902-477-1252.

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