Labour Force Survey Monthly

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Labour Force Survey, December 2021

released January 7, 2022

Statistics Canada continues to closely monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on the Canadian labour market. During the December reference week, public health measures remained mostly unchanged from those in place since October. Adjustments to public health measures in response to rising COVID-19 cases in many provinces occurred after the December 5th to 11th reference week.

Nationally, employment increased 0.3 per cent to remain above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. However, the number of people working less than half their usual hours and the number of job searchers remained elevated in December 2021 compared with February 2020. In contrast, the number of people who wanted a job but did not look for one, and the number of people on temporary layoff were on par with their pre-pandemic levels.

The return to the workplace remains stalled, despite the easing of many public health restrictions in all jurisdictions across the country. Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion who worked from home was little changed in December at 23.8%. The proportion of Canadians working from home has remained stable since August 2021.

The labour underutilization rate stood at 12.0 per cent in December, down 0.4 percentage points from November and the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. 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.

For more information on the December 2021 results, please refer to the Statistics Canada December 2021 Labour Force Survey release.

Prince Edward Island Employment

Unemployment Rate By Province (seasonally adjusted, in percentage)

December 2021 5.9 11.6 7.8 7.9 7.9 4.6 6.0 5.2 5.4 7.3 5.3
November 2021 6.0 10.4 8.0 8.1 8.5 4.5 6.4 5.1 5.2 7.6 5.6
December 2020 8.8 12.6 9.9 8.8 9.6 6.8 9.6 8.3 8.0 11.1 7.2
Year-over-year change (pp) -2.9 -1.0 -2.1 -0.9 -1.7 -2.2 -3.6 -3.1 -2.6 -3.8 -1.9
Monthly change (pp) -0.1 1.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.6 0.1 -0.4 0.1 0.2 -0.3 -0.3


Today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows P.E.I.’s seasonally adjusted employment in December totaled 83,300, a new all-time high for employment for Prince Edward Island. This is an increase of 5,800 from one year ago and up by 400 from November 2021. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent in December 2021, down 0.2 percentage points from last month and down 2.1 percentage points from December 2020. This is the lowest unemployment rate for PEI since January 2020, before the pandemic began. The total labour force increased by 100 from last month to total 90,300, which is also an all-time high.

The year-over-year increase in employment was due to an increase of 2,000 (3.0 per cent) in  full-time employment, while part-time employment rose by 3,700 (32.7 per cent).  The services sector saw an increase of 4,300 as compared to December 2020, while the goods-producing sector increased by 1,600 over the same period (see table below for year-over-year employment gains and losses by industry). P.E.I.’s December 2021 employment is the second consecutive month above it’s pre-COVID February 2020 level of 81,800.

The number of unemployed persons in December on Prince Edward Island was 7,000, down 200 from one month ago and down 1,500 compared to December 2020. The labour force participation rate in December was 66.2 per cent, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from one year ago.

The three-month moving average unemployment rate used by the Employment Insurance program for the Charlottetown region was 6.3 per cent in December, down from 6.6 per cent in December. There is no change in EI eligibility criteria in this region. The rate in the PEI region in December was 11.2 per cent, down from 12.5 per cent in November. This results in a decrease of the minimum draw period from 24 to 22 weeks while the hours needed to qualify for EI in this region remains at 420 hours. For more information, please refer to Employment Insurance (EI) -

Nationally, employment increased by 55,000 (0.3 per cent) in December, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Full-time employment increased 122,500 (0.8 per cent), while the number of people working part-time declined by 67,700 (-1.9 per cent). Employment increased in both the services-producing sector (11,000) and the goods-producing sector (44,000) in December. Total employment in Canada for December was at 101.3 per cent of its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

Notable employment increases occurred in Ontario and Saskatchewan, while a decline was seen in Newfoundland and Labrador. There was little change in other provinces. The unemployment rate for Canada decreased 0.1 percentage points to 5.9 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in December, falling for the seventh consecutive month and the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic.

Unadjusted for seasonality, the national unemployment rate for December was 5.4 per cent. The unadjusted unemployment rate for population groups designated as visible minorities was 6.5 per cent, down from 7.4 per cent in November. The rate remains higher than the average for some groups, including Chinese Canadians at 7.5 per cent and Black Canadians at 7.4 per cent.

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

Prince Edward Island Employment By Industry

Goods-producing sector:     

+1,600 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: +1,000

PEI Unemployment Rate                                                                                                                                          

(Seasonally Adjusted)

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

December saw continued improvements in the employment situation on the Island with employment levels remaining above pre-COVID levels for the second month in a row. Employment in December was at 101.8 per cent of pre-COVID employment, an improvement of 0.5 percentage points from November. For the fourth consecutive month, core aged workers (workers aged 24-55) achieved a level of employment exceeding pre-COVID employment, at 101.9 per cent of pre-COVID employment, though this is a decline of 1.0 percentage points from November. For the second consecutive month, youth employment (aged 15-24), exceeded its pre-COVID level, at 106.8 per cent, an improvement of 5.3 percentage points from the previous month. Older workers (aged 55 years and up) remained below pre-pandemic employment levels in December at 98.5 per cent, though this was an improvement of 1.0 percentage points from November. These improvements in the overall employment situation are not evenly distributed between males and females, the breakdown of which is below.

As can be seen in the figure below, males across all broad age groups achieved employment levels in excess of pre-COVID employment in December. The employment level for males aged 15-24 improved by 14.5 percentage points (1,000 people) to 124.6 per cent of pre-COVID levels. The employment level for males aged 15-24 has increased significantly since October 2021 (up 2,100 persons). At 8,600 people in December this is the highest level of youth employment for males on record (since 1976).  Employment for males aged 25-54 decreased to 103.8 per cent of pre-COVID employment in December, a decline of of 2.1 percentage points from November 2021. Males in this age group have largely had employment at or above pre-COVID levels since September 2020. Males aged 55 and over saw their employment level increase in December to 106.5 per cent of pre-COVID levels, an improvement of 0.9 percentage points from November.

Overall, female employment decreased between November and December.  Female employment was at 95.3 per cent of pre-COVID employment in December, a decline of 1.0 percentage points from November. Gains amongst older workers were not enough to offset declines in core-aged and youth employment. As of December, no group of females had employment at or above pre-COVID levels. Females aged 25- 54 saw their level of pre-COVID employment decrease to 99.6 per cent in December. This is a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from November. Females aged 15-24 saw their level of pre-COVID employment decrease to 89.1 per cent, down 4.7 percentage points from November 2021, and are the group furthest away from pre-COVID employment levels. Females aged 55 and over saw their level of pre-COVID employment increase by 1.0 percentage points to 89.6 per cent in December.

* Components may not sum to total due to rounding


  1. The LFS estimates for November are for the week of December 5 to 11, 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 February 4, 2022.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates, released January 7, 2022.

Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Labour Force Survey report - PDF (100KB)

Date de publication : 
le 7 Janvier 2022

Renseignements généraux

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