Labour Force Survey Monthly

Labour Force Survey, April 2021

released May 7, 2021

Statistics Canada is closely monitoring the impacts of Covid-19 on the Canadian labour market. From February to April 2020, 5.5 million Canadian workers were affected by the Covid-19 economic shutdown. By August 2020, most jurisdictions had substantially eased restrictions, allowing non-essential businesses to re-open. In the Atlantic region, the Atlantic bubble allowed residents to travel freely once again between the 4 Atlantic provinces. In October and early November, some jurisdictions re-introduced some public health measures in response to a spike in Covid-19 cases. These were mostly targeted at businesses where the risk of transmission is higher, such as restaurants, bars and recreational facilities. Later in November and early December, most jurisdictions introduced more targeted measures. On November 23rd, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador left the Atlantic bubble, followed by New Brunswick on November 26th. Prince Edward Island began a 2 week partial shutdown on December 7th. In late December, many jurisdictions extended public health restrictions as the number of Covid-19 cases continued to rise. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were the only jurisdictions to ease restrictions during this period, as in-person dining was once again allowed and recreational and cultural activities were permitted to resume. On February 28th, 2021 Prince Edward Island entered a two week circuit breaker period with partial restrictions as Covid-19 cases began to rise once again. This included a 72 hour period of more stringent restrictions from March 1st to 3rd, when only essential business were permitted to remain open.

The data in this release correspond to the reference period of April 11 to 17. For more information on survey enhancements, as well as the April 2021 results, please refer to the Statistics Canada April 2021 Labour Force Survey release. A supplementary analysis of the impact of Covid-19 on the April 2021 labour force for PEI follows the regular monthly report.

Prince Edward Island Employment

Unemployment Rate By Province (seasonally adjusted, in percentage)

April 2021 8.1 13.9 8.2 8.1 8.5 6.6 9.0 7.4 6.6 9.0 7.1
March 2021 7.5 12.4 8.1 8.6 9.2 6.4 7.5 6.8 7.3 9.1 6.9
April 2020 13.1 16.3 10.8 12.3 13.3 17.6 11.3 11.3 11.2 13.4 11.5
Year-over-Year change (pp) -5.0 -2.4 -2.6 -4.2 -4.8 -11.0 -2.3 -3.9 -4.6 -4.4 -4.4
Monthly change (pp) 0.6 1.5 0.1 -0.5 -0.7 0.2 1.5 0.6 -0.7 -0.1 0.2


Today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for P.E.I. was 8.2 per cent in March 2021, up 0.1 percentage points from last month and down 2.6 percentage points from April 2020, which was the first month the full effects of the pandemic were reflected in the labour force survey data. Seasonally adjusted employment in April totaled 78,900. This is an increase of 9,000 from one year ago and down by 300 from March 2021. The year-over-year increase was due to an increase of 5,500 in full-time employment and an increase of 3,500 in part-time employment. The total labour force increased by 7,400 from April 2020, down 400 from March 2021, to total 85,800. PEI’s April employment was at 96.5 per cent of its pre-Covid February 2020 level. The number of unemployed persons on Prince Edward Island was 7,000, no change from one month ago and down 1,500 compared to April 2020. The labour force participation rate in April was 64.3 per cent, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from March 2021.

The three-month moving average unemployment rate used by the Employment Insurance program for both the Charlottetown and PEI regions remained unchanged at 13.1 per cent in March as the Government of Canada continues to use the temporary minimum unemployment rate for EI purposes . There is no change in EI eligibility in either region.

Nationally, employment increased by 207,000 (-1.1 per cent) in April, following a 1.6 per cent increase in March. Employment fell in both part-time and full-time work. Decreases were reflected in those industries most affected by public health restrictions put in place in response to the third wave of the pandemic across the country. Employment in the goods-producing sector was down 12,000, while employment in the services industries decreased by 195,000. Employment was at 98.8 per cent of its pre-Covid February level in the goods sector, compared with 97.0 per cent for the services-producing sector. Employment increased in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with declines in all other provinces. The unemployment rate for Canada increased 0.6 percentage points to 8.1 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in April. In addition to employment losses, the number of employed people working less than half of their usual hours increased by 288,000 (+27.2%). The labour underutilization rate rose 2.3 percentage points to 17.0 per cent.

Unadjusted for seasonality, the national unemployment rate for April was 8.4 per cent. Several population groups designated as visible minorities had rates of joblessness significantly higher than the average, including Southeast Asian Canadians at 13.6 per cent, Arab Canadians at 12.3 per cent, and Black Canadians at 12.3 per cent.

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

Prince Edward Island Employment By Industry

Goods-producing sector:     

+1,900 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: -100

PEI Unemployment Rate                                                                                                                                          

(Seasonally Adjusted)

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

April saw an overall decline in employment on the Island, with the impact being mostly on older workers. As of March 2021, core aged workers (workers aged 24-55) achieved 98.8 per cent of their pre-COVID employment. Older works (aged 55 years and up), had achieved 96.6 per cent of their pre-COVID employment, while youth (aged 15-24) continued to lag at 88 per cent of pre-COVID employment. The breakdown by gender is below.

As can be seen in the figure below, males aged 25-54 and males aged 55 years and over continue to exceed their pre-COVID employment levels. Between March and April, males aged 25-54 saw their employment level improve to 101.7 per cent of pre-COVID levels, while the employment level for males aged 15-24 improved by 2.9 percentage points to 94.2 per cent of pre-COVID levels. Males aged 55 and over saw their employment level decline by 4.7 percentage points, but still remained above their pre-COVID level at 101.7 per cent.

Females aged 15-24 saw an increase in employment between March 2021 and April 2021 of 1.6 percentage points to achieve 82.8 per cent of their pre-COVID employment. This age group was the only female age group to see an increase in employment between March and April, but it remains the group furthest away from pre-COVID employment. Females aged 24-54 saw their percentage of pre-COVID employment decrease by 0.4 percentage points, yet remain the female group closest to pre-COVID employment. Females aged 55 and over saw a decline in employment in April, the first since October 2020. Their percentage of pre-COVID employment fell 2.1 percentage points to 87.5 per cent in April.

* Components may not sum to total due to rounding

** Effective August 9th, 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 April are for the week of April 11 to 17, 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 June 4, 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates, released May 7, 2021.

Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Labour Force Survey report - PDF (100KB)

Published date: 
May 7, 2021

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Phone: (902) 368-4040
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