Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues


Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Atlantic Manufacturing

  • Manufacturing is considered an essential service in Atlantic Canada and work continues in many facilities though with modified operating requirements.   
  • Several large operations have stopped or scaled back production significantly due to weak demand for their products or the direct impact of the safety concerns of COVID-19.
  • The impact on the manufacturing sector has been significant in several sub-sectors including food manufacturing, shipbuilding, forest products and refineries (see table).
  • For many manufacturers that are continuing to operate, productivity will be negatively impacted by new health and safety measures to protect workers from COVID-19 including physical distancing, staggering shifts and increased sanitization.

Quick Facts

  • Manufacturing contributes $7 billion of GDP in Atlantic Canada, which accounts for 6.7% of total regional GDP.
  • Annual sales of Atlantic manufacturers averaged $36 billion between 2017 and 2019.
  • There are nearly 78,000 people employed in Atlantic Canada’s manufacturing sector, almost 7% of total employment, making it the region’s 7th largest employer.
  • Average weekly wages in Atlantic manufacturing are $1,032, 9% above the all-industry average.



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