indicatorThe Owl

Number of Alberta businesses down in all but one sector during the pandemic

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector has been hit the hardest in percentage terms

By ATB Economics 3 February 2021 1 min read

Yesterday’s Owl took a look at how the number of Alberta businesses changed by industry between January 2015 and January 2020. Today’s Owl is focused on what has happened during the pandemic.

There were 6,708 fewer active businesses with at least one employee other than the owner in Alberta in October 2020 (the most recent month for which data are available) compared to February 2020 before the pandemic began—a drop of 6.3 per cent.

The number of businesses was lower across all sectors except utilities which managed to add 8 businesses. (Data for businesses in the education sector and the health and social services sector were suppressed by Statistics Canada to meet confidentiality requirements.)

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector has been hit the hardest in percentage terms, contracting by 10.7 per cent (158 businesses) between February and October.

The next largest drops in percentage terms were in the accommodation and food services sector (which was down by 8.5 per cent or 633 businesses) and the oil and gas sector (which was also down by 8.5 per cent or 281 businesses).

The largest absolute drop was in the construction sector with 1,021 fewer businesses (6.3 per cent) followed by professional, scientific and technical services (which was down 731 businesses or 4.1 per cent).

While some of the businesses that have closed since the pandemic began may reopen when it’s over, the degree to which the number of businesses in the province will bounce back—and how this might differ from sector to sector—remains to be seen.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to Our World in Data, 3 billion people (40 per cent of the global population) do not have access to clean fuels for cooking.

Today’s trivia question: What is the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world?

The number of businesses was lower across all sectors except utilities

The number of businesses was lower across all sectors except utilities


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