Released today, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s (APEC) latest report, commissioned by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC), reveals how differences in industry and demographic factors may shape the recovery for the 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada.
Travel-related, customer-facing and commodity-based industries are among the most negatively affected by COVID-19. Rural areas are typically more vulnerable to these economic impacts because of their greater dependence on these industries.
The Atlantic Industry Vulnerability Index used in this report measures the share of the labour force in industries that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19. There are large differences between counties ranging from 18% to 53%. Yarmouth came in at 41.3% which is high and due to a larger share of the labour force in at-risk industries. The greatest relative risk is its dependence upon the primary (fishing), manufacturing (seafood) and retail industries.
The report also contains dashboards and comparative tables for all counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada, identifying key variables that measure their vulnerability to COVID-19 including health, labour force and long-term structural indicators. When it comes to Yarmouth County the report identifies a number of concerns.
Labour force vulnerability of the county is rated ‘yellow’, there is a large Indigenous population and median income is low. Both Indigenous and low-income workers are at greater risk from the employment impacts of COVID-19. Health vulnerability is rated ‘yellow’ because the county has a high share of seniors that have a greater health risk from COVID-19. Overall physical and mental health was relatively good pre-pandemic. Long-term economic vulnerability has been rated ‘red’ as a result that income and education levels are relatively low, and population growth is slow which might impede future growth prospects.
This report is intended to help communities and governments as they develop informed strategies to support their recovery. Further, governments should consider the distinctive aspects of urban and rural areas in their plans to support the recovery of all regions.