More active businesses on P.E.I. than at start of pandemic

·2 min read
P.E.I. has seen a net gain of about 40 active businesses a month since July. (Trevor Brine/CBC - image credit)
P.E.I. has seen a net gain of about 40 active businesses a month since July. (Trevor Brine/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. has more active businesses than it did before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, according to a report this week from Statistics Canada.

Ten per cent of businesses on the Island closed in the early months of the pandemic. The economy began to recover, either from businesses reopening or new ones starting, in June of 2020.

The recovery has been steady since then. In February, the Island had 3,945 active businesses, more than the 3,927 in January 2020. There was further growth in March, taking the number up to 3,972 active businesses.

The province fared better than Canada as a whole. The country had lost almost 13 per cent of its businesses by May of last year, and has still not fully recovered to January 2020 levels. Growth began to flatten in February and March.

Active businesses

On Prince Edward Island, the recovery has mostly involved fewer businesses vlosing than would be the case in a normal time.

In 2019, P.E.I. was adding about 10 active businesses a month, with on average about 220 businesses opening and 210 closing every month.

Following a lot of volatility from March to June of 2020, as the number of active businesses grew in the latter half of the year, fewer businesses were closing. The number of businesses opening per month returned to about 220, while the number closing fell to an average of about 180.

In the first few months of 2021, there has been an increase in both openings and closings, with the net gain remaining about the same, at around 40 a month.

P.E.I. business openings and closures

While the number of active businesses on the Island could be described as having recovered from the pandemic, jobs have not been keeping pace.

The total number of jobs on the Island in January 2020 was 81,600, but by March of 2021, there were only 79,200.

Jobs on P.E.I.

The picture grows worse when you separate out full- and part-time jobs. There were actually more part-time jobs in the province in March than there were in January of last year: 13,400 versus 12,200.

That left just 65,800 full-time jobs in March, 3,600 fewer than there were in January 2020.

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