Atlantic Institute for Policy Research Highlights
Economic policy commentary and research from the AIPR

How is the New Brunswick economy recovering from the impacts of COVID-19?

Author: Alexander Ani, Alison Balcom, Thomas Campbell

Posted on Oct 12, 2021

Category: Research Reports , Regional Economics

AIPR is pleased to release a new report by AIPR researchers Alexander Ani, Alison Balcom and Thomas Campbell,“TRACKING NEW BRUNSWICK’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY FROM COVID-19” , that provides a statistical description of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the New Brunswick economy and its progress toward recovery. The work was made possible with funding from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.  Following a methodology for tracking economic recovery used by Export Development Canada for the national economy, the AIPR team constructed an index that they call the New Brunswick Economic Recovery Tracker (NB-ERT). The NB-ERT illustrates the pandemic’s economic impact over the past 16 months within five domains that EDC deemed useful indicators of economic activity and performance. EDC’s original goal with its CERT was to provide an aggregated indication of economic performance ahead of GDP statistics to provide a more timely indication of how the economy was reacting to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The sharp and immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy is clear in both the EDC’s CERT and the AIRP NB-ERT.  By April 2020, the index values were both 50 percent below the pre-COVID-19 baseline. Both the national and provincial economy recovered to 20 percent below baseline through last summer.  New Brunswick’s economy does not show major recovery differences from Canada’s until winter 2021 when vaccines became available and we narrowly avoided the third wave of COVID-19 that hammered most other provinces, including our neighbours in Nova Scotia.  According to the NB-ERT, New Brunswick’s economy had recovered to its pre-COVID-19 baseline in April 2021 while the national economy remained more than 10 percent below baseline.  As the third COVID-19 wave subsided and vaccination rates rose, the national economy by July 2021 is only 2 percent below its pre-COVID-19 baseline. 

 It is tempting to take a good news story for the New Brunswick economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but a closer look at NB-ERT index’s domains, however, suggests that while we can remain cautiously optimistic about recovery, but may not be out of the COVID-19 woods yet. The past year has been described as “unprecedented” and our economic journey through recovery will be just that, too.  Our economic activity and performance is largely fueled by human behaviour; we must wait to see how people act when their behaviour is no longer restricted by public health measures. As we see the re-imposition of public health measures in New Brunswick to address the rising COVID-19 in October 2021, we may see a reversal in economic recovery.





Subscribe to AIPR

* indicates required
Stay connected with the latest research findings from AIPR