Island Economy

Prince Edward Island has a vibrant and growing economy. Island businesses continue to deliver the highest quality products and service to the marketplace.

Our economy features a mix of traditional resources - agriculture, fisheries and tourism - that have undergone significant modernization as well as new industry sectors including bioscience and advanced manufacturing. Business acumen and entrepreneurship are at the core of PEI's economic success.

As of April 1, 2024, minimum wage is $15.40 per hour and the provincial government has numerous programs available to help students get into the job market.

2023 Annual Statistical Review Highlights

  • PEI population increased by 3.9 per cent to total 173,787 as of July 1, 2023;
  • Employment averaged an all-time high of 89,000, with a record annual increase of 5.7 per cent;
  • Total labour income increased 8.3 per cent;
  • Farm cash receipts reached an all-time high of $814.8 million, an increase of 7.5 per cent;
  • Retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent, to a record $3.5 billion;
  • International exports increased by 17.4 percent to $2.3 billion, a new all-time high;
  • 2023 GDP increased by 2.2 per cent (real GDP by industry). PEI’s GDP growth has exceeded national growth in seven of the last nine years;
  • Island population as of July 1, 2023, was 173,787, an increase of 3.9 per cent over 2022, the second highest growth among provinces and territories;
  • Employment averaged 89,000, a new all-time high. This was a record annual increase of 4,800, or 5.7 per cent. This marks the second consecutive year with record employment growth;
  • Unemployment rate averaged 7.3, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points over 2022 and the lowest annual rate on record;
  • Total labour income increased by 8.3 per cent;
  • 2023 lobster landings were 43.9 million pounds (down 1.1 per cent) and valued at $298.8 million (down 4.5 per cent);
  • Farm cash receipts increased 7.5 per cent over 2022 to reach a new all-time high of $814.8 million;
  • The All-Items Consumer Price Index for PEI showed inflation was 2.9 per cent in 2023, the lowest annual rate among provinces;
  • Retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent to reach an all-time high of $3.5 billion;
  • Housing starts totaled 1,139, a decrease of 13.6 per cent;
  • Investment in non-residential construction and machinery increased 16 per cent;
  • New motor vehicle sales in 2023 numbered 7,670 (up 13.9 per cent) and valued $370.2 million (up 29.3 per cent);
  • International exports increased by 17.4 per cent, to reach $2.3 billion, a new all-time high;
  • Manufacturing shipments increased for the third consecutive year, rising 8.1 per cent to an all-time high of $3.3 billion;


Farm cash receipts for 2023 totaled $811.8 million, an increase of 11.3 percent over 2022. This compares to an increase of 3.6 percent for Canada as a whole.1


The Department of Fisheries, Tourism, Sport and Culture estimates that the value of total fish landings in 2023 fell by 13.4 percent to $369.3 million, following a 10.9 percent decrease in 2022. Molluscs and crustaceans remain by far the top species of the Island fishery comprising 96.9 percent of the total value of all fish landings. Total lobster landings decreased by 1.1 percent in 2023, which along with lower prices, contributed to the total value falling by 4.5 percent to $298.8 million. Diagram 11 shows the value of lobster landings on PEI from 2014 to 2023. The value of other crustaceans and molluscs fell by 42.6 percent in 2023.1


Total shipments increased by 8.1 percent in 2023 to a value of $3.3 billion, a new all-time high. Shipments have increased every year since 2010 with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020. Durable goods increased 4.4 percent, while shipments of non-durable goods rose by 10.0 percent.1


2023 saw tourism continue the rebound that began in 2022 following the COVID-19 pandemic. 2023 was the first full year with no travel restrictions in place. PEI saw in increase in international tourists, notably from the United States, however there were fewer “stay-cations” by PEI residents as well as fewer Canadian tourists from outside the Maritimes.1

The total number of room nights sold at fixed roof accommodations fell by 4.3 percent in 2023, following an increase of 70.0 percent in 2022. Occupancy rates at Island accommodations dipped slightly to 47.9 percent from 49.2 percent in 2022, however remained above the pre-pandemic level of 45.6 percent seen in 2019. Site nights sold at campgrounds decreased 7.0 percent, however with less overall sites available, the occupancy rate rose to 52.3 percent, up from 52.1 percent in 2022. In 2019, campgrounds had an occupancy rate of 47.9 percent.1


According to Industry Canada, the total value of PEI’s exported goods grew from $2.0 billion in 2022 to $2.3 billion in 2023, an increase of 17.4 percent. Exports of frozen food products made up 29.8 percent of all international exports of goods in 2023. Frozen food product exports increased from $552.4 million in 2022 to $696.6 million in 2023, an increase of 26.1 percent. Other top exports included seafood products valued at $328.3 million (down 13.1 percent from 2022), $231.8 million in vegetable and melon farming (up 64.3 percent), and pharmaceutical and medicine at $171.0 million (up 17.8 percent). Total exports for Canada in 2023 declined 2.2 percent.1


The PEI Cluster includes over 65 bioscience companies, several research institutions(link is external), and is home to Emergence – Canada’s virtual Bioscience Business Incubator(link is external) and Natural Products Canada(link is external), North America’s first business accelerator dedicated to the commercialization of products and technologies based on natural product chemistry.2


1 Annual Statistical Review, July 2024

2 PEI BioAlliance.




Published date: 
July 5, 2024
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