Government of Nova Scotia, Canada

Home > Economics and Statistics > Archived Daily Stats
The Economics and Statistics Division maintains archives of previous publications for accountability purposes, but makes no updates to keep these documents current with the latest data revisions from Statistics Canada. As a result, information in older documents may not be accurate. Please exercise caution when referring to older documents. For the latest information and historical data, please contact the individual listed to the right.

<--- Return to Archive

For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

March 22, 2024

Statistics Canada has released real-time local business conditions from March 11 to March 17, 2024. Reference dates reported now refer to the date following the end of the reference week.

Note that these data are not adjusted for seasonality and monthly or weekly changes may simply reflect regular seasonal patterns. 

From August 10 of 2020 to March 18, 2024, the local business conditions index for Halifax has increased by 233.0%. In percentage terms, Regina reported the strongest growth in business conditions over this period while Hamilton had the smallest gain (Halifax had the second smallest gain).

Halifax business conditions improved by 26.1% in the week ending March 18th.  All urban centres reported better business conditions compared to the week prior, led by the gain in St. John's.  Trois-Rivières reported the smallest improvement.  

Compared with four weeks prior, business conditions were up 53.5% in Halifax. Every urban centre except for White Rock reported improving business conditions compared to four weeks prior.  St. John's reported the strongest gain for this period (followed by Halifax). 

Compared with the same week a year ago, Halifax business conditions have improved by 52.1%. All cities reported improvements over the same period last year. The largest improvements were in Kitchener, London and Halifax. The smallest improvement was in Sherbrooke.

As the experimental business conditions index is both volatile and unadjusted for seasonality, a comparison of year-to-date averages may generate more stable (if less current) insights into changing business conditions.

Compared with the first eleven weeks of 2023, Halifax business conditions were up 39.7% in the same period of 2024. Over this period, Kitchener and Ottawa reported the largest gains while Barrie and Sherbrooke reported the smallest gains. No urban centres reported a year-to-date decline in business conditions.

Halifax's business conditions generally follow trends observed in Canada's largest urban centres (those with populations greater than 800,000).  Halifax business conditions do deviate from others during spikes from weather or cultural events. 

Halifax's business conditions typically deteriorate more than others in the first months of the year and post a strong recovery in the spring, followed by stable conditions over the summer. This pattern appeared to be repeating this winter with a sharp decline at the start of January. Conditions appear to be rebounding faster than in the three previous years in Halifax.  Despite recent improvements, Halifax's business conditions lag those of all large urban centres except Hamilton.  

Several medium-sized cities (population >250,000) reported sharp growth in business conditions over the holiday season, followed by a sharp contraction. Despite the recent rebound, Halifax continued to report the weakest business conditions among medium-sized cities.

Halifax business conditions also remain behind all those of smaller urban centres (population <250,000).


This experimental data product starts from information on the number of businesses listed in the business register in "business dense areas" of a large urban centre.  Data from 2019 business locations provided baseline (ie: pre-pandemic) insight on business revenue and employment. 

The data focus on 27 industries in particular: retail bakeries, furniture stores, electronics/appliance stores, building materials/garden supply stores, food/beverage stores, gas stations/convenience stores, clothing stores, cycling stores, book stores, general merchandise stores, florists, cinemas, dental offices, museums, zoos/gardens, amusement/theme parks, casinos, fitness/recreation centres, bowling alleys, drinking places, restaurants, and personal care services (such as hair care or esthetics).

Data on current operating conditions (open vs. closed) were collected from commercial application-program interfaces (API).  Most of the information is drawn from Google's Places API, which is similar to what is available publicly on Google Maps, with supplementary information from APIs offered by Yelp Fusion and Zomato.  Queries to the API are based on a sampling approach ('density-based cursory search') that focuses on the densest areas for business locations in the selected industries.  Statistics Canada cautions that the sampling methods used do not follow standard statistical methods due to cost and technical limitations.

Data on current traffic volumes were drawn from TomTom's historical traffic information.  As with operating conditions, the information was drawn from a sample of routes within identified business-dense areas.  Statistics Canada cautions that traffic volume estimates and their relationship to business conditions may be sensitive to changing traffic patterns, construction/detours, and changes to business models such as curbside pickup or delivery.

The index of real-time local business conditions is estimated as the value of retail revenue, adjusted for both percentage of reported business closures as well as changes in traffic volumes from pre-pandemic levels. 

The value of the index was set to 100 as of August 2020.  As such, the index shows changes since then, but does not represent the variations in business conditions that existed in the initial period. A location with strong local business conditions in August 2020 would have less opportunity to grow than a location with weak conditions in the same month.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0398-01  Real-time Local Business Condition Index (RTLBCI)

Statistics Canada catalogue 71-607X. Real-Time Local Business Conditions Index: Concepts, data, methodology,, July 15, 2021

<--- Return to Archive