The unemployment rate on P.E.I. was below 10 per cent in July for the second month in a row, a picture the province has not seen since 1978.

The rate fell dramatically in June, to 9.8 per cent, and then fell again in July to 9.4 per cent. That's the lowest rate since April 2010, but in that year the low rate only lasted the one month. The last time the rate was below 10 per cent two months in a row was in September-October 1978.

The lower rate, however, is not coming through job creation, but because Islanders are leaving the workforce. The number of jobs was largely static from June to July, but the number of Islanders either working or seeking work fell. The workforce also shrunk in June.

While the number of jobs overall was largely unchanged, there was a shift from part-time to full-time work, with 800 new full-time jobs, and 600 fewer part-time jobs.

The total number of jobs has been fluctuating around 74,000 for the last 13 months. The number of people in the workforce was trending up until February, when it reached a peak of 84,400. It has since fallen to 82,000. Statistics Canada says the population of Islanders of working age has increased slightly during that period.

Job numbers comparison
Population (aged 15+) Labour Force Jobs F-T Jobs P-T Jobs Unemployment Rate Participation Rate
Oct 1978 87,200 50,700 45,700 39,700 5,800 9.9% 58.1%
July 2014 121,700 82,000 74,300 62,600 11,700 9.4% 67.4%

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  • The numbers in this story have been updated to reflect an amended labour force survey issued by Statistics Canada on Aug. 15, 2014.
    Aug 18, 2014 8:08 AM AT