P.E.I. unemployment rate rises to 8%

With job creation on Prince Edward Island stagnant over the last nine months, and the workforce continuing to grow with the population, the province's unemployment rate is rising.

Statistics Canada released its June Labour Force Survey Friday morning. The unemployment rate was up almost a full percentage point, to 8.0 per cent.

Employment on the Island increased through most of 2023, starting in January with 84,500 jobs and climbing to 92,100 in September.

There have been some ups and downs since, with numbers falling as low as 91,200 in November and reaching as high as 92,600 in April. But in June of this year, jobs were back to 92,100, the same number as September.

In the meantime, the number of people working or looking for work rose from 98,500, with 6,600 unemployed, to 100,100 and 8,000 unemployed.

"Some of this is due to a slowing economy," said Atlantic Economic Council economist Fred Bergman.

"This is what the Bank of Canada kind of wanted when it increased interest rates to cool the economy, and cool inflation even more so."

A closer look at the numbers reveals some positive news, Bergman said. While the total number of jobs is the same, about 1,000 jobs have shifted from part-time to full-time.

"The upside of that story is full-time workforce tends to pay more and there's more hours worked," he said. "So, typically, stronger gains in income despite employment being flat."

As a result, labour income is still rising in the province, Bergman said.

Job stagnation has been focused on younger and older workers.

There has been job growth in the 25 to 54 demographic, but that was offset by losses for those aged 15 to 24 and those 55 and older.

Younger and older workers did not see the same shift to full-time work, either.

The number of full-time jobs for younger workers remained the same as in September. Older workers saw losses in both full- and part-time jobs.