Agriculture, manufacturing help soften blow to P.E.I.'s economy

The impact of COVID-19 on P.E.I.'s economy isn't projected to be as bad as first expected, says the province’s director of economics and statistics.

Province's GDP expected to be down 3.9 per cent

Farm receipts on P.E.I. were strong for the first half of 2020, according to Statistics Canada. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

The impact of COVID-19 on P.E.I.'s economy isn't projected to be as bad as first expected, says the province's director of economics and statistics.

Nigel Burns told a standing committee the GDP is expected to take a 3.9-per-cent hit this year, which is better than the five-per-cent-drop in previous projections.

He said up until July, the tourism industry was hit the hardest. But other industries, such as manufacturing and agriculture, haven't been hit as hard, resulting in less of an impact on the Island's overall economy.

Statistics Canada's farm cash receipts report showed sales of $203.6 million for the first half of the year, the best first half since 2009. Crop sales drove most of the increase, with livestock sales up only marginally over 2019.

Burns said it's "still not a great situation" for the overall economy.

Nigel Burns, P.E.I.'s director of economics and statistics, said while the economy is better than expected, it’s 'still not a great situation.' (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

"Everyone is predicting a contraction, but things are starting to tighten up and be less of an impact for the year," he said.

"Since we don't have such a big contraction, we won't have as strong a rebound in the following year, but that's OK, we have less destruction in the first place to heal in the second year." 

Burns told the committee much still depends on how the COVID-19 situation progresses on P.E.I. and with its trading partners around the world.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Travis Kingdon


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