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Nova Scotia Economic Indicators
The latest statistical indicators for the Nova Scotia and Canadian economies.
For the latest information and historical data, please contact the individual listed below:

Alexander Chute

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Currently displaying information released on: February, 2021


Statistics Canada released updated data on monthly business openings and closures for November 2020.  A business will be classified as open if it had no employment in the previous month and then has employment in the next month and a business will be closed if it had employment the previous month and no employment in the current month. For opening and closing, the reason could be a permanent change (i.e. business exit) or temporary for reasons such as seasonal operations, capital maintenance, restructuring or the COVID-19 situation. Continuing business are those that had employment in both the current and previous month. Active businesses are the sum of continuing and opening business in the current month.

The number of active business declined sharply in every province in March, April and May.  In June and July, the number of businesses started to recover, with gains in all provinces.

Additional public health measures were implemented across some provinces in October and November to limit the spread of the second wave of the pandemic. Statistics Canada noted that the number of business closures increased in every month since August.  In November, the number of business closings increased in every province, though the number of openings outpaced the number of closings for all provinces except Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.  

In November, the number of active businesses increased by 0.4% in Nova Scotia.  Active businesses were up 0.1% nationally with increases in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.3%, after a gain of 1.2% in October) and Manitoba (-0.3%).  Prince Edward Island (+0.5%) posted the largest monthly gain across all provinces.

Compared with February 2020, the number of active businesses was down 3.5% for Nova Scotia in November. Nationally, active businesses declined by 4.5% from February to November 2020. The number of active businesses was down in all provinces compared to February 2020, with the largest decline experienced in Ontario (-6.7%).

Among cities (Census Metropolitan Areas), the declines in active businesses from February to November were most severe in Toronto (-7.1%), Guelph (-6.9%) and St. John's (-6.6%). There were 2.5% fewer active businesses in Halifax in November when compared to February 2020. This was a more moderate decline than in the rest of Nova Scotia.

The calculation for the opening, continuing and closure rate have been made based on the number of active business in the previous month. The rate at which business either opened, continued or closed can be examined to see how number of active business has changed.

Most businesses continue operating each month.  At the height of COVID-19 related restrictions, the share of businesses that continued to operate from one month to the next fell to 89.4% in Nova Scotia, down from 95.2% in February 2020.  National continuing rates fell from 96.4% in February to 88.6% in April. 

Business continuing rates rose sharply by July, reaching 97.0% in Nova Scotia and 93.4% nationally.  Since then, there has been some decline with November business continuing rates slipping to 94.8% in Nova Scotia.  National business continuing rates increased (with gains in Ontario) to 96.4%.

Nova Scotia’s business opening rate declined from 4.1% in February to 3.1% in April. By June, the Nova Scotia business opening rate increased to 7.8% as the economy re-opened and restrictions were lifted. From July to November, Nova Scotia's business opening rate declined back to near pre-pandemic levels, falling to 5.0% in November. Nationally, the opening rate did not decline substantially in March and April, but increased in June and July.  Since July, the national business opening rate has declined, falling to 5.9% as of October.

The rate of business closures in Nova Scotia was 4.1% in February 2020. This increased to 14.2% in April and has subsequently fallen to 3.4% in November. Nationally, the business closing rate increased from 4.5% in February to 13.0% in April. As of November, the national business closing rate was 4.2%.

The COVID-19 situation has impacted business sector industries to different degrees. Nova Scotia active business were lower in many sectors when compared to February.  Nova Scotia's largest declines were observed in forestry/fishing (-6.1%), construction (-5.7%) and accommodation/food (-5.2%), real estate/leasing (-4.9%) and retail (-4.9%).  The number of active Nova Scotia businesses was up in mining/oil/gas, finance/insurance, professional/technical services and arts/entertainment/recreation. 

Nationally, the number of active businesses was down for all industries, with a notably steeper decline in accommodation/food services as well as arts/entertainment/recreation and personal/repair services.  

Statistics Canada has broken out specific data for tourism-related industries.  This shows that the number of active tourism-related businesses was down 4.0% in Nova Scotia from February to November.  Nationally the decline was 8.8%.  Compared to the national average, Nova Scotia has had larger declines among active businesses in accommodations.  Nova Scotia's declines in active tourism businesses have been smaller than the national average for all other tourism related industries.  

All industries in Nova Scotia that have reported declines in active businesses have seen partial or complete recovery underway since May.


The source data is seasonally adjusted. The data may not aggregate due to firms being classified into multiple industry or geography.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0270-01 Experimental estimates for business openings and closures for Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areasMethodology: Business Opening and Closing