The Q4 2019 job creation data shows a large reduction of jobs in the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. The number of jobs declined by about 350, bringing the number of employed by the sector to 7,950. I anticipated that trend to continue in Q1 2020 with the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, a number of startups continued to hire in Q1 2020. About 261 net new jobs were created across 978 startups. The total amount employed in the startup scene reached 8,211. I believe most of the hiring happened in January and February then stalled out in March.
The job creation data reveals a number of startups that did lay off employees in industries that were hard hit by COVID-19 such as travel, hospitality, sports, etc… It seems the layoffs didn’t really hit hard in other industries, but I anticipate that will happen in Q2 2020. I’ve already received reports of a number of layoffs in April.
I started tracking job creation numbers of a number of Atlantic Canadian startups in November 2016 to better understand what was happening in the ecosystem. I started taking it seriously in July 2017.
The database has grown a lot over this time. In fact, I am now tracking 947 companies across Atlantic Canada. As it has grown, so has the complexity. With this complexity, it means the data isn’t perfect but my data collection methods are improving each time.
Even though the data isn’t perfect it usually paints a pretty interesting picture of what is happening in the ecosystem.
Year over year the startup community has grown a lot, boosting the local job creation. From my count, there have been roughly 1,500 net new jobs created in the ecosystem.
However, in the last quarter, the region saw the largest contraction of jobs that I’ve seen since I started doing this. The number of jobs declined by about 350, bringing the number of employed by the sector to 7,950. That is even with 47 new companies that I started tracking last quarter.
The good news is there are a lot of relatively young companies that are growing at a rapid pace year over year with no visible signs of slowing down.