The State of Markets in Atlantic Canada

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The State of Markets in Atlantic Canada


  • For most of recent history, there has been a prosperity gap between Atlantic Canada and the rest of Canada. Given this gap, it is important to understand how Atlantic Canada’s private sector (i.e., markets) is performing.
  • Government spending at all levels as a share of the economy was highest in 2019 in Nova Scotia (60.2 percent), Prince Edward Island (58.5 percent), and New Brunswick (57.4 percent), with those provinces also having the smallest private sectors.
  • Newfoundland & Labrador led the country in private sector investment in 2019, but New Brunswick ranks eighth, Prince Edward Island ninth, and Nova Scotia last among all provinces.
  • Nova Scotia ranks fifth in Canada in 2019 for (adjusted) private venture capital investment per person (at $51.37 per person), while Newfoundland & Labrador ranks seventh ($16.69 per person) and New Brunswick ranks eighth ($1.51 per person).
  • All four Atlantic Provinces had below-average shares of private sector employment as a share of total employment in 2019, with New Brunswick ranking fifth (64.0 percent), Nova Scotia sixth (63.6 percent), Newfoundland & Labrador seventh (62.3 percent), and Prince Edward Island ninth (59.7 percent).
  • Prince Edward Island led the country in the new business entry rate in 2019 (at 166 new entries per thousand businesses), but the other three Atlantic Provinces underperformed. Newfoundland & Labrador ranked fifth (127 per thousand), Nova Scotia seventh (123 per thousand), and New Brunswick ninth (117 per thousand).
  • With some exceptions in individual categories, the five measures used in this study show that in 2019, private markets in the Atlantic Provinces generally underperformed those in the rest of Canada.

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