Labour Force Survey Monthly

Labour Force Survey, September 2021

released October 8, 2021

Statistics Canada continues to closely monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on the Canadian labour market. By the September reference week, most jurisdictions in Canada had implemented the final or near-final stages of their public health reopening plans. Indoor locations, such as restaurants, recreation facilities, personal care services, retail stores, and entertainment venues, were generally permitted to be open, with varying degrees of capacity restrictions. In addition, after the Canada-United States border reopened on August 9 for fully vaccinated Americans to enter Canada without quarantine requirements, restrictions on travellers from around the globe were eased on September 7, potentially boosting the arrival of tourists and new immigrants. Prince Edward Island was in step four of the five step reopening plan in September.

Nationally, the employment gains in September brought employment back to the same level as in February 2020. The return to the workplace paused in September. Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion working from home held steady at 23.8%, in part because Alberta urged employers in the province to pause return-to-work plans.

The labour underutilization rate stood at 13.8% in September, down 0.4 percentage points from August. Above and beyond the unemployment rate, this rate reflects the proportion of people in the potential labour force who are unemployed; want a job but have not looked for one; or are employed but working less than half of their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19.

The data in this release correspond to the reference period of September 12 to 18. For more information on the September 2021 results, please refer to the Statistics Canada September 2021 Labour Force Survey release.

Prince Edward Island Employment

Unemployment Rate By Province (seasonally adjusted, in percentage)

September 2021 6.9 13.1 11.3 8.0 9.3 5.7 7.3 5.6 6.3 8.1 5.9
August 2021 7.1 12.1 10.6 7.8 9.3 5.8 7.6 5.7 7.0 7.9 6.2
September 2020 9.2 15.2 10.2 8.1 11.0 7.5 9.6 7.1 7.1 12.1 8.6
Year-over-Year change (pp) -2.3 -2.1 1.1 -0.1 -1.7 -1.8 -2.3 -1.5 -0.8 -4.0 -2.7
Monthly change (pp) -0.2 1.0 0.7 0.2 0.0 -0.1 -0.3 -0.1 -0.7 0.2 -0.3


Today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows P.E.I.’s seasonally adjusted employment in September totaled 79,600. This is an increase of 3,500 from one year ago and up by 600 from August 2021. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3 per cent in September 2021, up 0.7 of a percentage point from last month and up 1.1 percentage points from September 2020. The increase in the unemployment rate was due to more people looking for work. The total labour force increased by 1,200 from last month to total 89,600, the highest on record.

The year-over-year increase in employment was entirely in full-time employment, which increased by 4,400, while part-time employment fell by 900 over the same period.  The services sector saw an increase of 4,900 as compared to September 2020, while the goods-producing sector declined by 1,400 over the same period (see table below for year-over-year employment gains and losses by industry). P.E.I.’s September employment was at 97.3 per cent of its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

The number of unemployed persons on Prince Edward Island was 10,100, up 700 from one month ago and up 1,500 compared to September 2020. The labour force participation rate in September was 66.3 per cent, an increase of 2.5 percentage points from September 2021.

Employment Insurance requirements, which were temporarily eased during the pandemic, are changing with plans to return to pre-pandemic requirements in September of 2022. As of September 26th 2021, Service Canada reverted to using regional unemployment rates to determine Employment Insurance eligibility requirements. As of October 10th, the three-month moving average unemployment rate used by the Employment Insurance program for the Charlottetown region will be 7.9 per cent and the rate in the PEI region will be 12.3%. Both are down from the 13.1 per cent rate used nationally for the previous year. The minimum number of hours needed to qualify for EI in both regions increased from 120 hours to the new common national requirement of 420 hours. In the Charlottetown region, the minimum draw period will be 14 weeks and in the PEI region, the minimum draw period will be 24 weeks, both down from 26 weeks. For more information, please refer to Employment Insurance (EI) -

Nationally, employment increased by 157,100 (0.8 per cent) in September, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The gain was entirely in full-time work (193,600 or 1.3 per cent), mainly seen in services-producing industries, led by public administration, and were concentrated among the core age working group of 25 to 54. Total employment in Canada for September was at 100.0 per cent of its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

Employment gains were mainly concentrated in services industries, which increased by 142,400, while goods-producing sector grew by 14,700. Employment was at 96.8 per cent of its pre-COVID (February 2020) level in the goods sector, while employment in the services-producing sector surpassed the pre-COVID level at 100.8%. Employment fell in Newfoundland and Labrador, with increases in all other provinces. The unemployment rate for Canada decreased 0.2 percentage points to 6.9 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in September, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic.

Unadjusted for seasonality, the national unemployment rate for September was 6.3 per cent. The unemployment rate fell among most population groups designated as visible minorities but remained significantly higher than the average for some, including Black Canadians at 8.9 per cent, Arab Canadians at 8.4 per cent, and Latin American Canadians at 8.3 per cent.

Employment gains (+)/ losses (-) between August 2020 and August 2021 occurred in the following sectors on Prince Edward Island*:

Prince Edward Island Employment By Industry

Goods-producing sector:     

-1,400 Service-providing sector:




Trade (Retail/Wholesale):


Other Primary Industries:


Transport & Warehousing:




Finance, Insurance, Real Estate:




Business Services:




Professional, Scientific and Technical:




Educational Services:




Health & Social Services:




Public Administration:




Information, Culture and Recreation:




Accommodation & Food services:


    Other Services: 0

PEI Unemployment Rate                                                                                                                                          

(Seasonally Adjusted)

Gender Impacts of COVID-19 and the Provincial Labour Market Situation

September saw a moderate improvement in the employment situation on the Island, with gains accruing to core-aged and younger workers, and losses for older workers. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, as of September 2021, core aged workers (workers aged 24-55) achieved 100.8 per cent of their pre-COVID employment, up 1.5 percentage points from August. Youth (aged 15-24), had achieved 93.2 per cent of their pre-COVID employment, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the previous month. Older works (aged 55 years and up) saw a deterioration in employment between August and September achieving 91.1 per cent of pre-COVID employment, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from last month. The breakdown by gender is below.

As can be seen in the figure below, males aged 25-54 saw their level of pre-COVID employment remain steady in September at 101.3 per cent of pre-COVID levels. The employment level for males aged 15-24 improved by 2.9 percentage points to 95.7 per cent of pre-COVID levels. Males aged 55 and over saw their employment level decline in September to 97.2 per cent of pre-COVID levels. After peaking in March 2021, this age group has seen a slow deterioration in its percentage of pre-COVID employment over the last seven months.

Overall, female employment increased between August and September. Females aged 25- 54 saw their level of pre-COVID employment increase to 100.4 per cent in September. This is an increase of 2.5 percentage points from August, and the first time employment has exceeded pre-pandemic levels for this group. Females aged 15-24 saw their level of pre-COVID employment increase to 92.2 per cent, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from August 2021. Females aged 55 and over saw their level of pre-COVID employment decline by 1.0 percentage point to 84.4 per cent, and remain the group furthest away from pre-COVID employment levels.



* Components may not sum to total due to rounding

** Effective August 9th. 2020, the Government of Canada introduced a temporary minimum unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent for EI purposes for all economic regions of Canada.


  1. The LFS estimates for Septmber are for the week of September 12 to 18, 2021.
  2. The LFS estimates are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling variability. For more information, see the Statistics Canada publication "Interpreting Monthly Changes in Employment from the Labour Force Survey."
  3. The next release of the LFS will be on November 5, 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates, released October 8, 2021.

Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Labour Force Survey report - PDF (100KB)

Published date: 
October 8, 2021

General Inquiries

Department of Finance
2nd Floor South, Shaw Building
95 Rochford Street
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7N8

Phone: (902) 368-4040
Fax: (902) 368-6575