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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

William Steele Senior Economist
Tel: 902-424-6131Email:

February 16, 2018

Statistics Canada has released revised labour productivity accounts for the provinces for 2013-2016 which are consistent with the GDP by industry data released November 2017. Nova Scotia business sector labour productivity growth was revised up from a preliminary 0.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2016. Over the period 2012-2016, business sector labour productivity growth was revised down, mostly in 2013.

For 2016, Nova Scotia's labour productivity in the business sector increased by 1.5 per cent following growth of 2.1 per cent in 2015, 1.8 per cent in 2014 and a decline of 1.2 per cent in 2013. Canada's labour productivity in the business sector increased 0.6 per cent in 2016 offsetting the decline of 0.4 per cent that occurred in 2015. In Nova Scotia, 34.8 dollars (chained 2007) of GDP are produced per hour of work and in Canada 50.0 dollars per hour.

In 2016, Nova Scotia's real labour productivity in the business sector (chained $2007 dollars per hour worked) grew by 1.5 per cent as real output was up 1.2 per cent and hours worked were down 0.2 per cent. Hours worked in the business sector have declined for the past four years.   The goods-producing sector productivity rose 4.3 per cent, while productivity in the service sector was up 0.3 per cent. Productivity in Canada was up 0.7 per cent in the goods sector and up 0.7 for the service sector.


Business sector productivity increased in nine provinces in 2016 with a decline of 0.7 per cent in Alberta. Prince Edward Island reported the largest increases in labour productivity. Newfoundland and Labrador had labour productivity growth of 4.4 per cent due to higher production of oil and gas.

Hours worked in the business sector rose in only four provinces in 2016. Alberta reported a 4.4 per cent decline with the forest fires in Fort McMurray area resulting in fewer work hours in the province. Hours increased in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

Compensation per hour of work in the business sector was up 1.8 per cent in Nova Scotia to $25.21. Total compensation for business sector industries was up 1.6 per cent and hours worked were down 0.2 per cent. Compensation per hour worked was up in all the provinces, except Alberta and Saskatchewan. Compensation per hour of work increased 0.6 per cent in Canada in 2016.

With compensation per hour worked (+1.8 per cent) rising faster than labour productivity (+1.5 per cent), the unit labour cost (dollars per unit of real GDP) was up in Nova Scotia by 0.3 per cent in 2016. Unit labour costs were unchanged in Canada with half the provinces increasing and half the provinces seeing a decline. Unit labour costs in US dollars were down for all provinces.

Within Nova Scotia, labour productivity of goods sector was up 4.3 per cent. Mining, and oil and gas extraction labour productivity was up 46.4% with a decline in the number of hours worked in mining. Manufacturing (+5.3%), construction (+8.3%) and utilities (+8.3%) all saw rising labour productivity.  Business services labour productivity increased 0.3 per cent in 2016. Labour productivity was up in real estate, rental and leasing; transportation and warehousing; accommodation and food services, and retail trade by more than 1 per cent. Information and cultural industries (-13.5%), arts, entertainment and recreation (-3.7%), administrative and support services (-2.6%) and wholesale trade (-2.0%) had labour productivity declines of more than 1 percent. Non-business sectors productivity was up 0.2 per cent.

For more information, see Statistics Canada CANSIM series numbers 383-0031 to 383-0033

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