In 2009, real gross domestic product (GDP) fell in every province and territory, except Manitoba and Yukon. Real GDP declined 2.5% nationally, the first annual contraction since 1991.
Chart 1 Real gross domestic product, 2009
Description for Chart 1
The year was marked by lower demand and lower prices for many Canadian products, particularly natural resources. Exports fell 14%, with most export commodity groups declining. Business investment in fixed capital contracted in every province and territory, as falling foreign and domestic demand curtailed investment plans in 2009. In contrast, government investment in fixed capital increased in every province and territory except Saskatchewan.
Business investment in the three major categories of fixed capital—residential structures, non-residential structures, and machinery and equipment—registered significant declines. Corporate profits fell over 30% as commodity prices tumbled and overall demand slumped.
Output in all major goods-producing industries was down in 2009. Growth in services industries generally slowed.
Manitoba’s real GDP in 2009 was little changed from 2008. Consumer and government expenditures increased while business investment in both inventories and fixed capital decreased. Exports and imports were both down, with the decline in imports outpacing that in exports.
Five provinces recorded declines in GDP that were less pronounced than that of the national economy. These regions were less reliant on energy or export markets for their growth and had enough personal or government expenditures to partially offset a general weakness in the export market.
Growth in personal and government expenditures in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island helped ease the overall GDP contraction in these provinces.
New Brunswick was the only province to show an increase in exports, posting a 1.3% gain over 2008. This cushioned the decline in business investment in fixed capital.
British Columbia and Quebec both fared better than the national average as government investment in fixed capital and moderate advances in personal expenditures on goods and services mitigated the decrease in real GDP registered by each of these two provinces.
The percentage decline of real GDP in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario was steeper than that of the national economy. Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador were affected by the overall drop in natural resource demand and lower energy prices. The significant contraction in Ontario’s manufacturing sector reflected lower exports.
Real GDP in Nunavut declined substantially in 2009 as business investment in fixed capital fell by over 50%. It was a similar story in the Northwest Territories, where a 32% decline in business investment in fixed capital and a 15% drop in exports drove overall real GDP down by 11%. Yukon’s exports increased, and investment in machinery and equipment posted a double-digit percentage gain.