For your information: Data on Nova Scotia’s economy and workforce

Workers’ Forum is providing below information on Nova Scotia’s economy and workforce, as well as that of neighbouring Maritime provinces. The aim is to combat the disinformation spread by the monopoly media and cartel political parties about the economy which obscures the integral role of workers in producing all the social wealth.


The Nova Scotia gross domestic product in 2017 was $33.470 billion at basic prices calculated in 2007 dollars.

The GDPs of the individual Maritime provinces are by far the smallest in Canada (all figures from 2017):

Nova Scotia = $33.470 billion

New Brunswick = $27.363 billion

Newfoundland and Labrador = $26.773 billion

Prince Edward Island = $4.883 billion

Combined Maritime GDP = $92.489 billion

The combined Maritime GDP is larger than the individual GDPs of Saskatchewan ($60.591 billion) and Manitoba ($57.250 billion).

The total GDP for Canada = $1.732 trillion

Nova Scotia’s per cent of Canada’s GDP = 1.9 per cent

Division of Nova Scotia’s economy into sectors reported as GDP – 2017[1]

Goods-Producing Industries’ GDP

This category includes all sectors within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) from 11 to 33.[2]

Nova Scotia goods-producing GDP = $6.540 billion

Goods-producing industries’ GDP is 19.5 per cent of the total Nova Scotia GDP of $33.47 billion

Service-producing industries’ GDP makes up the other main category at 80.5 per cent.

Although Nova Scotia’s total GDP is the largest of the Maritime provinces, its goods-producing GDP is second smallest.

Largest goods producing GDP is Newfoundland and Labrador = $13.234 billion

Second largest is New Brunswick = $6.659 billion

Third is Nova Scotia = $6.540 billion

Smallest is Prince Edward Island = $1.143 billion

Main Goods-Producing Sectors

Energy sector

Much of the goods-producing sector in Newfoundland and Labrador and to a lesser extent New Brunswick is the energy sector, which includes oil and gas extraction, petroleum refineries and utilities, mainly electric power generation and transmission. (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes 211, 2121, 21229, 213111, 213118, 2211, 2212, 32411, 486)

Newfoundland and Labrador = $7.233 billion (Of this $6.077 billion is oil and gas extraction; $338 million petroleum refineries; and, $577 million electric power generation and transmission.)

New Brunswick = $1.731 billion (negligible oil and gas extraction while petroleum refineries is $770 million; and, electric power generation and transmission is $969 million.)

Nova Scotia = $983 million or 2.9 per cent of total NS GDP (Of this energy sector $278 million is oil and gas extraction while petroleum refineries is $0 with the last reported refinery production in 2013; and, electric power generation and transmission = $490 million.)

Manufacturing GDP (2017) – This includes all manufacturing classifications from 31 through 33 in the NAICS.

Nova Scotia manufacturing GDP = $2.644 billion or 7.9 per cent of total GDP – second largest in Maritimes

New Brunswick manufacturing GDP = $3.041 billion

Newfoundland and Labrador = $968.2 million

Prince Edward Island = $522.8 million

Construction GDP (NAICS 23 – note that construction has its own classification within the goods-producing category and is not considered a subsection of manufacturing)

Nova Scotia = $1.905 billion (5.69 per cent of total NS GDP and second largest in Maritimes)

Newfoundland and Labrador = $2.54 billion

New Brunswick = $1.519 billion

Prince Edward Island = $261.8 million

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting GDP (NAICS 11)

Nova Scotia = $746.6 million (2.23 per cent of total GDP and second largest in Maritimes behind New Brunswick)

New Brunswick = $890.2 million

Newfoundland and Labrador = $307.5 million

Prince Edward Island = $276.7 million

Population and Workforce

Nova Scotia population = 959,942 or 2.6 per cent of the Canadian population of 37,058,856.

Nova Scotia’s population is 2.6 per cent of Canada’s population yet its GDP is only 1.9 per cent of the total GDP. This reveals a structural economic weakness.

Nova Scotia workforce (all figures from 2017)

Total workforce = 490,100

Total employed workers = 449,000

The workforce number from Statscan includes all civilians, non-institutionalized persons 15 years of age and over who, during the reference week, were employed or unemployed and had looked for work in the last four weeks.

Nova Scotia workforce participation rate = 61.8 per cent

National Canada-wide average workforce participation rate = 65.8 per cent

Participation rate is the total number of individuals 15 years and older who are employed plus all unemployed who have looked for work in the past four weeks when the survey was completed, as a proportion of the total population 15 years and older.

Unemployed Nova Scotia workers (Unemployed in the workforce who have searched for work in the last four weeks) = 41,000

Unemployed total definition from Statscan: Number of persons who, during the reference week, were without work, had looked for work in the past four weeks, and were available for work.

Unemployment rate for the Nova Scotia workforce = 8.4 per cent

Unemployment rate for Canadian workforce = 6.3 per cent

(To be continued: The Nova Scotia service-producing industries and its sectors, which total $26.9 billion or 80.5 per cent of the NS GDP: service-producing NAICS codes 41-91; also explored is the division of work within the Nova Scotia economy according to employment numbers in each sector.)


1.Caution has to be exercised when using Gross Domestic Product as identifying productive activity. For example, Statscan lists Nova Scotia retail trade as contributing $2.392 billion to the Nova Scotia GDP as part of the service-producing category. This makes it 7.15 per cent of the total GDP quite similar to that of the manufacturing sector. But the retail sector in the main circulates already produced social product and does not produce anything new, any “gross domestic product.”

The retail sector along with many other sectors considered contributing to the gross domestic product are features of the current transitional economic system, where production is under the control of a financial oligarchy and meant for exchange for money in a domestic and international market and not directly for use and certainly not according to a plan the actual producers devise. The unproductive sectors are necessary within this particular economic commodity stage in the development of the economy of industrial mass production. The unproductive sectors survive by consuming social product transferred from the productive sectors.

The unproductive sectors have exploded in size during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as the imperialist system has degenerated into parasitism and decay. Trading of so-called derivatives, which are supposed to represent already produced social product, totals trillions of dollars a day on markets around the world most of it now done using powerful computers. The traders compound the problems by borrowing to make trades. All this intensifies the contradictions of a socialized economy whose parts are owned and controlled by competing private interests whose aim is their narrow self-interest. This unresolved contradiction is propelling the world towards increasingly more dangerous economic crises and wars.

Production of social product for use and its direct distribution as means of production and consumption under the control of the working people themselves is the next stage in development of the economy. This requires the empowerment of the people through democratic renewal of the political process so that they can deprive the global oligarchs who now own and control the socialized economy of their power to block progress and stop people from finding and implementing solutions for society’s economic and social problems, and from developing new human relations in conformity with the socialized economy and modern era.

2.The NAICS divides and groups the economy into broad sectors from All industries T001 through to Aboriginal public administration 914, with multiple sub-sectors, industry groups, industries and Canadian industries each with their own number.

Statscan writes, “NAICS Canada 2017 Version 1.0 consists of 20 sectors, 102 subsectors, 322 industry groups, 708 industries and 923 Canadian industries.”

Sectors within the goods-producing industries sector (T002)

Sector 11 – Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

Sector 21 – Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

Sector 22 – Utilities

Sector 23 – Construction

Sector 31-33 – Manufacturing

For the complete list and explanation of the sectors click here.

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Filed under Canada, Nova Scotia Government, Working Class

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