The recession that started outside Atlantic Canada’s borders is hurting us, but not as badly as you might think, says New Brunswick beer magnate Andrew Oland.
Oland, president of Moosehead Breweries, was in town this week to speak at the Halifax Grammar School’s 50th anniversary. He told Metro News Thursday that compared to the previous 1990s recession, unemployment numbers —particularly in the cities —have stayed relatively low.
“It’s still pretty close to traditional levels. If we’re through the worst of it (the recession) then the region will be OK.”
In December 2008, Halifax boasted a 5.8 per cent unemployment rate — lower than the national rate of 6.6 per cent. Nova Scotia had 8.2 per cent unemployment.
Moosehead keeps a close eye on this, of course, because if you don’t have a job, you’re probably not buying much beer.
“People need money in their pockets. It’s an affordable luxury; if someone’s looking to splurge on themselves, they can buy a case of beer to share,” Oland said.
But he expects local projects will continue to keep the economy going in this region. New Brunswick has the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant, along with a new LNG terminal and a proposed new refinery.
“I notice a fair amount of economic growth in Halifax. Whenever I’m in Halifax, I’m amazed. It just seems like any piece of land around the harbour you can put a house on, people are trying to do that.”