indicatorThe Owl

Number of businesses in Alberta during the pandemic

Will the number of active businesses fall even further before the pandemic and its ill effects are over?

By ATB Economics 19 April 2021 1 min read

The seasonally adjusted number of active businesses* in Alberta was 4.7 per cent lower (-5,507) in December 2020 than it was in February 2020 before the pandemic. (Active businesses are those that reported having one or more employees in a given month.)

This is an alarming drop that has negatively affected thousands of business owners and their employees.

The number of active businesses in Alberta has not contracted by this amount since 2016 when the province was in the second year of the worst recession in 30 years.

The big question going forward is: Will the number of active businesses fall even further before the pandemic and its ill effects are over?

Encouragingly, after large drops in the spring, monthly gains were posted in June through December, albeit not enough to make up for the ground lost earlier in the year.

Also encouraging is the fact that the number of business incorporations tracked by the provincial Corporate Registry System was 30.3 per cent higher (+2,955) over the first three months of 2021 than over the same period last year.

With the pandemic still in play and many businesses struggling beneath the accumulated weight of the damage it has done, another spike in businesses closures is possible.

It is also important to remember that while improvement in the net number of active businesses is a good sign overall, many businesses that were forced to close because of the pandemic will not reopen.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to the Canada Energy Regulator, there are 14 gasoline-producing refineries in Canada: 6 in western Canada, 4 in Ontario, 2 in Quebec, and 2 in the Atlantic Provinces.

Today’s trivia question: How many tourism industry businesses are there in Alberta?

There were 5,507 fewer business in Alberta in December 2020 than before the pandemic

There were 5,507 fewer business in Alberta in December 2020 than before the pandemic


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