A new special issue entitled Business closures in non-metro Ontario to April, 2020 is now available. The factsheet shows that in non-metro Ontario, from January to April, 2020, the number of active businesses declined by 5,800 businesses – a decline of 12%, marginally less than the 13% decline in metro areas. This decline was due to 18% fewer businesses openings and 243% more business closures. The data don’t tell us whether these closures are permanent. Interestingly, while employment impacts in rural areas have not been as deep in rural and small town areas (RST) as in metropolitan areas (as discussed in other recent special issues of Focus on Rural Ontario) the business closure drop off has been proportionally similar.
In Ontario, in metro and non-metro areas, the sectors with the largest decline in active businesses were:
- Accommodation and food – 21%
- Other (personal) services – 19%
- Transportation and warehousing – 17%
- Retail trade – 15%
- Arts, entertainment and recreation – 15%
Not surprisingly, these harder hit sectors do align with the impact of COVID-19 on rural employment.