Labour Force Survey Monthly

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Labour Force Survey, July 2020

released August 7, 2020

Statistics Canada is closely monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on the Canadian labour market. From February to April, 5.5 million Canadian workers were affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. By July, most jurisdictions had substantially eased restrictions, allowing non-essential businesses to re-open. This resulted in increased employment and more people began looking for work once again. The number of workers affected by the COVID-19 shutdown during the July LFS reference week was 2.3 million, a reduction of 58 per cent since April.

The data in this release correspond to the reference period of July 12 to 18. Between the June and July collection periods, PEI entered Phase 4 of relaxing public health measures on June 26th, while quarantine-free travel between the four Atlantic provinces (Atlantic bubble) came into effect on July 3rd.

For more information on survey enhancements, as well as the July 2020 results, please refer to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey release at:


A supplementary analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the July 2020 labour force for PEI follows the regular monthly report.

Prince Edward Island Employment

Unemployment Rate By Province (seasonally adjusted, in percentage)

July 2020 10.9 15.6 11.7 10.8 9.8 9.5 11.3 8.2 8.8 12.8 11.1
June 2020 12.3 16.5 15.2 13.0 9.9 10.7 12.2 10.1 11.6 15.5 13.0
July 2019 5.7 12.6 8.4 7.5 8.5 4.9 5.7 5.8 5.4 7.1 4.5
Year-over-Year change (pp) 5.2 3.0 3.3 3.3 1.3 4.6 5.6 2.4 3.4 5.7 6.6
Monthly change (pp) -1.4 -0.9 -3.5 -2.2 -0.1 -1.2 -0.9 -1.9 -2.8 -2.7 -1.9


Today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows that P.E.I.’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.7 per cent in July 2020. This is down 3.5 percentage points from last month and up 3.3 percentage points from June 2019. Seasonally adjusted employment in July totaled 74,700. This is a decrease of 4,000 from one year ago and up by 1,100 from June 2020. The annual decrease was a result of a decline of 4,400 in full-time employment while part-time employment increased by 300 . The increase in July brings PEI to 92.7 per cent of its pre-COVID February level of employment. 

The large monthly decrease in the unemployment rate in July occurred as more people were employed due to the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions combined with a decrease in the number of people in the labour force. The number of unemployed persons on Prince Edward Island fell to 9,900, down 3,300 from one month ago and up by 2,700 from July 2019. The labour force participation rate stood at 64.4 in June, down 4.2 percentage points from July 2019. The total labour force decreased by 1,200 from July 2019 to total 84,700.

The three-month moving average unemployment rate used by the Employment Insurance program for the Charlottetown region increased to 13.1 per cent in July, up from 10.2 per cent in June. This results in a decrease in the hours needed to qualify for EI in this region, from 525 to 420 hours and increases the minimum draw period from 21 to 26 weeks. The rate in the PEI region in July was 14.7 per cent, up from 14.3 per cent in June. There is no change in EI eligibility in this region.

Nationally, employment increased by 418,500 in July, a rise of 2.4 per cent. Employment increased in both the goods and services industries, up 70,600, and 347,900 respectively compared to June 2020, but remain well below July 2019 levels. All provinces recorded an increase in employment in July, except New Brunswick, where employment was unchanged. Employment in New Brunswick reached 96.6 per cent of its pre-COVID February level in July, leading the country in this measure. The unemployment rate decreased 1.4 percentage points to 10.9 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in July.  

Beginning with the July LFS, Statistics Canada has incorporated new information on labour market conditions for diverse groups of Canadians. Unadjusted for seasonality the unemployment rate for July was 11.3 per cent, though several population groups designated as visible minorities had rated of joblessness significantly higher than the average, including South Asian Canadians at 17.8 per cent, Arab Canadians at 17.3 per cent and Black Canadians at 16.8 per cent.

Employment gains (+)/ losses (-) between July 2019 and July 2020 occurred in the following sectors on Prince Edward Island:

Prince Edward Island Employment By Industry

Goods-producing sector:     

-1,100 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: +400

* Components may not sum to total due to rounding


PEI Unemployment Rate                                                                                                                                          

(Seasonally Adjusted)

COVID-19 and the Provincial Labour Market Situation

The labour force survey (LFS) collection week for July was the week of the 12th to the 18th. For the Island, this period included the impacts of the Phase 4 easing of restrictions as well as the beginning of quarantine-free travel within the Atlantic region (Atlantic Bubble), which began July 3rd. Consequently, the July release of the LFS marks the first time since the beginning of the pandemic where the majority of the COVID-19 restrictions in place for non-essential businesses had been lifted, and where travel to the province, at least for Atlantic Canadians, does not need to be pre-approved. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment totaled 74,700 people in July. This was an increase of 1,100 people from June 2020, but remained 5,900 people below the pre-COVID employment level of February 2020. The chart below shows the path of recovery in the labour market since February.  The number of employed people working zero hours has fallen by 6,700, or 66 per cent since April, while the number of people working less than 50 per cent of their usual hours has fluctuated as people move from working zero hours back toward more normal hours of employment.  

The number of unemployed totaled 9,900 people on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, a decrease of 3,300 people from June 2020, and up 2,900 people from February 2020. There were 8,900 people who were actively looking for work in July, a decrease of 700 people from June, while there were 1,100 people in July who were on temporary layoff and expected to be recalled, a decrease of 2,400 from June. 

The number of people counted as not being in the labour force increased by 2,300 people in July, or by 5.2 per cent. This is the first increase in this group since measures to re-open the economy have come into force. As more people returned to work, or became active job seekers, the group deemed not in the labour force who wanted work declined by 300 in July or 7.9 per cent, to reach 3,500 people. Though still higher than the pre-COVID average, at the height of the lockdown restrictions in April, this number reached 8,800 people. Those who were not in the labour force for other reasons increased by 2,600, or by 6.4 per cent, to reach 43,400 people. Prior to the pandemic, this group averaged approximately 40,000 people over the last two years.

One of the results of the pandemic and the measures put in place to control the spread, is a significant increase in labour underutilization. Combining all those who were unemployed with those who were not in the labour force but wanted a job and did not look for one, as well as those who remained employed but lost all or the majority of their usual work hours, labour underutilization rate decreased from 24.9 per cent in June 2020 to 22 per cent in July 2020, an improvement of 2.9 percentage points. The labour underutilization rate remains 7.6 percentage points above February 2020 levels.


  1. The LFS estimates for July are for the week of July 12 to 18, 2020.
  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 September 4, 2020.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates, released August 7, 2020.

Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Labour Force Survey report - PDF (100KB)

Date de publication : 
le 7 Août 2020

Renseignements généraux

Ministère des Finances
Immeuble Shaw, 2e étage (sud)
95, rue Rochford
C.P. 2000
Charlottetown (Î.-P.-É.) C1A 7N8

Téléphone : 902-368-4040
Télécopieur : 902-368-6575