Historically, the economy of Kippens has revolved around three primary resources sectors. These include agriculture, fishing and forestry.
Most farms established in Kippens served only to supplement the needs of individual families located in the community. The 1921 census (first time Kippens appeared in the provincial census) for Kippens reports that there was one horse, four cows, and sever other horned cattle contained within various farms in the community. There were 20 sheep and 37 poultry. A total of 1,600 gallons of milk was produced the previous year as well as 600 pounds of butter, 28 pounds of wool, and 165 dozen eggs. The people of Kippens occupied a total of 329 acres of land. Twenty-eight acres were under cultivation and 1 in pasture. The land produced 19 tons of hay in 1920, 82 bushels of potatoes, and 1,000 heads of cabbage.
Today, agricultural activity within the town is quite limited. Poor soil conditions prevent development of large-scale agricultural operations.
A second important employment opportunity for many of the settlers in Kippens was the fishery. The 1921 census states that three fishermen “and others” cultivated land. Four men were engaged in the catching and curing of fish, and three females were engaged in curing fish. Three boats, with a capacity of 30 quintals and upwards were utilized in the shore fishery. There were six nets and lines as well as 50 lobster traps.
The logging industry was not a full-time employer for the Kippens region; however, it was an important supplement to the income of many residents. In the year 1920, the men folk of Kippens cut 1,000 logs, 1,7000 fence posts, and 60 telegraph poles, which were sold outside the community. Other residents were employed at sawmills operated by A.V. Gallant, J.B.Lainey and Basil Cormier.
In the mid 1900’s, construction of the Air Force Base in Stephenville brought about many employment changes in Kippens. Many people commuted to Stephenville to work on the Base. There was an urgent need for an available pool of skilled labor and many residents of Kippens filled those positions. For the twenty-five years (1941-1966) that the Base was in operation, the community of Kippens prospered. There was a steady increase in populations and a rise in the standard of living. Employment opportunities created by the Base marked the transition from a one-dimensional economy to a more diverse and sophisticated one.
For the most part, employment opportunities for residents of Kippens have continued to occur in the Town of Stephenville. Although several businesses exist in Kippens, they are not large employment generators.