HALIFAX — Officials say Nova Scotia’s economy is showing signs of recovery, but the province may continue to deal with uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of the fiscal year.
An update released Tuesday projects total revenue to be $12.8 billion, which is up $1 billion from the budget tabled in March, due, in part, to higher personal tax and HST revenues.
The province is also forecasting a surplus position of more than $108.2 million for 2021-22, a turnaround from the $585-million deficit projected in the March budget. According to the forecast, the change is attributed to "better-than-expected" economic performance.
Finance Minister Allan MacMaster told reporters on Tuesday that employment in the province was above pre-pandemic levels in November, hitting the highest level on record. Employment rose 0.7 per cent about levels in February 2020, according to the forecast.
"Nova Scotia's ability to avoid extended lockdowns has contributed significantly to the fact that our economy has kept moving and people have continued to purchase and consume and people have been able to continue to go to work," MacMaster said.
There is still much volatility and uncertainty to face, he added, saying that growth is uneven and several sectors remain affected by the pandemic, including industries with more face-to-face interaction such as tourism and recreation.
Though the tourism sector saw some recovery after the first wave of the pandemic, according to the update, renewed restrictions in April and May stalled progress.
And in the past week, the province has reported record-breaking daily case counts as the Omicron variant of the virus has rapidly spread throughout the province. Officials will be watching the new wave of COVID-19 closely, MacMaster said, and adjusting their economic modelling accordingly.
The update forecasts 1.5 per cent growth for the provincial economy in 2022 with economic activity less affected by COVID-19.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press