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, 2022, minimum wage is $13.70 per hour and the provincial government has numerous programs available to help students get into the job market.

2021 Annual Statistical Review Highlights

  • Labour income increased by 10.2 per cent;
  • Lobster landings reached 47.2 million pounds, valued at $370.9 million;
  • International exports increased by 12.5 percent to reach $1.7 billion.
  • 2021 GDP increased by 6.6 per cent (Real GDP By Industry)
  • Island population as of July 1, 2021 was 164,318, an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2020 and the highest growth among provinces
  • Employment averaged 79,400, an increase of 2,700 over 2020 or 3.5 per cent
  • Unemployment rate averaged 9.2 per cent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points over 2020
  • Total labour income increased by 10.2 per cent
  • Lobster landings reached 47.2 million pounds, valued at $370.9 million
  • The All-Items Consumer Price Index for PEI showed inflation was 5.1 per cent in 2021
  • Retail sales increased by 19.0 per cent
  • Housing starts totalled 1,267, an increase of 2.2 per cent
  • New motor vehicle sales in 2021 numbered 7,861 and valued $308.7 million
  • International exports increased by 12.5 percent, to reach $1.7 billion


Farming in Prince Edward Island is a traditional industry with an important economic contribution. In 2021, farm cash receipts valued $568.1 million, a drop of 1.4 per cent compared to 2020.1


The Department of Fisheries and Communities estimates that the value of total fish landings in 2021 almost doubled, increasing by 92.9 per cent to $478.5 million, following a 28.9 per cent drop in 2020. Molluscs and  crustaceans  remain  by  far  the  top  species  of  the  Island  fishery  comprising  97.6  per  cent  of  the  total  value of all fish landings. Total lobster landings increased by 21.1 per cent in 2021, which along with higher prices, contributed to the total value rising by 123.2 per cent to $370.9 million. Lobster prices increased to an average of $7.86/lb in 2021, which was an all-time high. 1


Total shipments increased by 15.3 per cent in 2021 to a value of $2.6 billion, a new all-time high. Prior to the pandemic, manufacturing shipments had increased every year since 2010. Durables good increased 11.5 per cent, while shipments of non-durable goods rose by 17.1 per cent.2


Tourism was the industry that was most severely impacted by COVID-19, as it bore the brunt of travel re-strictions, capacity limits and event cancellations. Spring and summer 2021 saw travel restrictions ease at various stages, however the number of visitors remained well below pre-pandemic levels. The total number of room nights sold at fixed roof accommodations rose by 68.0 per cent in 2021, following a decline of 63.9 per cent in 2020. Occupancy rates at Island accommodations improved to 31.5 per cent from 19.4 per cent in 2020, however still below the 45.6 per cent seen in 2019. Site nights sold at campgrounds increased 26.4 per cent, with the occupancy rate up to 39.2 per cent from 36.0 per cent in 2020.3


According to Industry Canada, the total value of exported goods grew from $1.5 billion in 2020 to $1.7 billion in 2021, an increase of 12.5 per cent. Exports of seafood products made up 26.8 per cent of all interna-tional exports of goods in 2021. Its value increased from $252.0 million in 2020 to $454.3 million in 2021, an  increase  of  80.3  per  cent.  Other  exports  included  frozen  food  products  valued  at  $402.8  million  (down  4.0 per cent from 2020), $113.8 million in vegetable and melon farming (down by 7.7 per cent) and $92.4 million in pharmaceutical and medicine (down by 12.1 per cent).4


The PEI Cluster includes over 60 bioscience companies, several research institutions, and is home to Emergence – Canada’s virtual Bioscience Business Incubator and Natural Products Canada, North America’s first business accelerator dedicated to the commercialization of products and technologies based on natural product chemistry.5


Annual Statistical Review, July 2022

2 Statistics Canada. Table 16-10-0048-01 - Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly

3 P.E.I. Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Visitor Statistics, Tourism Indicators

4 Industry Canada, Trade Data Online,

5 PEI BioAlliance.


Published date: 
July 14, 2022
Executive Council Office

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