Labour Force Survey Monthly

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Labour Force Survey, August 2021

released September 10, 2021

Statistics Canada continues to closely monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on the Canadian labour market. By the August 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, for the first time since March 2020, on August 9 fully vaccinated non-essential travellers from the United States were permitted to enter Canada without quarantine requirements, expanding potential clientele for businesses in tourist areas. Prince Edward Island was in step four of the five step reopening  plan in August.

Nationally, workers continue to return to their usual workplace. Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion working from home fell 1.8 percentage points to 24.0 per cent in August, the lowest share since the onset of the pandemic.

The labour underutilization rate was little changed at 14.2 per cent in 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 August 15 to 21. For more information on the August 2021 results, please refer to the Statistics Canada August 2021 Labour Force Survey release.

Prince Edward Island Employment

Unemployment Rate By Province (seasonally adjusted, in percentage)

August 2021 7.1 12.1 10.6 7.8 9.3 5.8 7.6 5.7 7.0 7.9 6.2
July 2021 7.5 12.7 9.6 8.4 9.3 6.1 8.0 6.1 7.0 8.5 6.6
August 2020 10.2 13.0 10.7 10.3 9.5 8.8 10.6 8.3 7.9 12.2 10.7
Year-over-Year change (pp) -3.1 -0.9 -0.1 -2.5 -0.2 -3.0 -3.0 -2.6 -0.9 -4.3 -4.5
Monthly change (pp) -0.4 -0.6 1.0 -0.6 0.0 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 0.0 -0.6 -0.4


Today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows P.E.I.’s seasonally adjusted employment in August totalled 79,000. This is an increase of 1,600 from one year ago and up by 100 from July 2021. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6 per cent in August 2021, up 1.0 percentage point from last month and down 0.1 percentage points from August 2020. The increase in the unemployment rate was due to more people looking for work. The total labour force increased by 1,100 from last month to total 88,400.

The year-over-year increase in employment was entirely in full-time employment, which increased by 2,500, while part-time employment fell by 800 over the same period.  The services sector saw an increase of 3,200 as compared to August 2020, while the goods-producing sector declined by 1,600 over the same period (see table below for year-over-year employment gains and losses by industry). P.E.I.’s August employment was at 96.6 per cent of its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

The number of unemployed persons on Prince Edward Island was 9,400, up 1,000 from one month ago and up 100 compared to August 2020. The labour force participation rate in August was 65.7 per cent, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from July 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 June 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 90,000 (0.5 per cent) in August, the third consecutive monthly increase. The majority of the increase was in full-time work (69,000 or 0.4 per cent), mainly seen in services-producing industries, led by accommodation and food services, and were spread across multiple demographic groups. Total employment in Canada for August was at 99.2 per cent of its pre-COVID February 2020 level.

Employment gains were mainly concentrated in services industries, which increased by 92,900, with little change in the goods-producing sector. Employment was at 96.4 per cent of its pre-COVID (February 2020) level in the goods sector, while employment in the services-producing sector has essentially returned to the pre-COVID level at 99.9%. Employment fell in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Manitoba, with increases in all other provinces. The unemployment rate for Canada decreased 0.4 percentage points to 7.1 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis in August, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic.

Unadjusted for seasonality, the national unemployment rate for August was 7.9 per cent. Several population groups designated as visible minorities had rates of joblessness significantly higher than the average, including Arab Canadians at 11.9 per cent, Latin American Canadians at 11.5 per cent, and Black Canadians at 10.8 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:     

-1,600 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: -100

PEI Unemployment Rate                                                                                                                                          

(Seasonally Adjusted)

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

August saw a small improvement in the employment situation on the Island, with gains accruing to core-aged and older workers, and losses for younger workers. As of August 2021, core aged workers (workers aged 24-55) achieved 99.4 per cent of their pre-COVID employment, up 0.1 percentage points from July. Older works (aged 55 years and up), had achieved 92.6 per cent of their pre-COVID employment, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the previous month. Youth (aged 15-24) saw a deterioration in employment between July and August achieving 91.7 per cent of pre-COVID employment, a decrease of 4.5 percentage points from last month. The breakdown by gender is below.

As can be seen in the figure below, males aged 25-54 saw an improvement in their level of pre-COVID employment. Between July and August, males aged 25-54 saw their employment level increase by 1.7 percentage points to 101.3 per cent of pre-COVID levels. The employment level for males aged 15-24 improved by 1.4 percentage points to 92.8 per cent of pre-COVID levels. Males aged 55 and over saw their employment level decline in August to 99.1 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 six months.

Overall, female employment declined between July and August as a result of a significant fall in female employment for those aged 15 to 24.  After a large bump up in July, females in this age group saw their level of pre-COVID employment fall by 10.9 percentage points to 90.6 per cent of pre-COVID employment. Absent the July outlier, employment for this group has been on a slow upward trend since February 2021. Females aged 24-54 saw their level of pre-COVID employment increase by 0.8 percentage points to 98 per cent of pre-COVID employment. Females aged 55 and over saw their level of pre-COVID employment improve by 2.1 percentage points to 85.4 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 August are for the week of August 15 to 21, 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 October 8, 2021.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates, released September 10, 2021.

Related downloads for this release:

Monthly Labour Force Survey report - PDF (100KB)

Date de publication : 
le 10 Septembre 2021

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