Descriptive analysis of manufacturing employment at the sub-provincial level in New Brunswick: 2010-2020

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


There is a narrative in New Brunswick that the province is falling further and further behind the rest of Canada in terms of economic and population growth, and “catching up” is a nearly impossible task to accomplish. Fortunately, this narrative is not entirely true. New Brunswick (NB) aims – like all provinces – to obtain levels of growth equal to or surpassing the national average. It struggles in certain areas, such as growing its working-age population. However, research is often so focused on the province’s struggles and areas of greatest need that its leading sectors sometimes fade into the background. If we are to promote progress and prosperity in the province, there is a need to not only examine our weaknesses but also to better understand our strengths. The more we know about NB’s successes, the more likely we are to replicate them, and to solve any challenges that might be holding them back. In this report, we aim to do just that by examining one of NB’s greatest strengths: its manufacturing sector. Manufacturing, which refers to the physical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products (Government of Canada, 2021), is key to NB’s economic growth. Our manufacturing sector leads the province in exports and accounts for nearly 10% of total employment. In other words, nearly 1 in every 10 employed New Brunswicker works in manufacturing.